Face Mask Mandate Now in Effect for Orange County

July 1, 2020

With a spike in local COVID-19 cases and increase in related emergency room visits, local officals have mandated that everyone wear face masks while in public. Orange County’s mask mandate went into effect on Saturday, June 20th. The county was also urging businesses to observe CDC guidelines on social distancing and mandating their employees and customers to wear masks. They've also recommended businesses deny service to anyone not wearing a mask. There are some exemptions. First responders, utility workers, and some healthcare workers are exempt from wearing masks while on the job.

Is this too much to ask? Is it an infringement on you rights? Will you be wearing yours?

What We Know About Face Masks as of Today

Does it matter what sort of mask you wear? The asnwer is yes. Different masks offer different levels of protection. Surgical grade and N95 respirators offer the highest level of protection against Covid-19 infection, followed by surgical grade masks. These masks are in limited supply and are costly and are uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time. So even countries that have required the public to wear face masks have generally suggested such masks should be reserved for health workers or those at particularly high risk.

The protective value of single-use paper masks, reusable cloth coverings or homemade cloth masks is less clear, but evidence still suggests that even these masks can contribute to reducing transmission of Covid-19.

The evidence on any mask use, outside of surgical masks, is still being determined. There appears to be some benefit, but the exact parameters and the extent to which they protect an individual or those around them, are still being figured out. One factor is clear, tighter fitting around the face is probably better, but the CDC suggests any covering (including a bandana) is better than none. Which household materials best removed particles the typical size of the viruses (0.3-1.0 microns in diameter)? A recent study showed good options include vacuum cleaner bags, heavyweight quilter’s cotton or multiple layers of material. Scarves and bandana material were less effective, but still captured a fraction of particles. How do you wear a mask safely?

  1. Clean your hands well with soap and water before putting your mask on.
  2. Cover the mouth and nose with your mask. Make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  3. Avoid touching your mask while using it. If you do, wash your hands.
  4. Replace the mask when it is damp.
  5. Remove your mask using the elastic tags without touching the front and discard immediately. If the mask is reusable put it directly into the washing machine. Wash them after each use. Many commercially available masks are made from layers of plastics and are designed to be single-use and if used by the majority of the population, would significantly increase waste. So if you want to reduce waste, evidence shows reusable masks perform most of the same tasks of single-use masks without the associated waste.

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This article is from our July 2020 issue. It is out now and available for download.

Community Events

Virtual Fireworks at the Fountain

June 4, 2020

Tune in to News 6 WKMG/ to viewa pre-recorded compilation of the brightest and biggest fireworks from the past several years at Lake Eola. The fireworks are scheduled for 9:15 p.m.

Virtual Watermelon 5k

July 1, 2020

Start your Independence Day the right way with the Virtual Watermelon 5k! For the first time in 30 years, the July 4th AdventHealth 5k will be virtual. The health of our running community and community at large is our focus. We encourage everyone to celebrate the day, support community causes and make the best of the situation by creating your own at-home running experience. To participate register at trackshak.com.

Fireworks at SeaWorld

July 4, 2020

If you must get out and see some fireworks in person then 4th of July at SeaWorld is the place for you. At SeaWorld Orlando, the night sky will light up with fireworks, pyrotechnics and lasers during a one-of-a-kind, patriotic finale to Independence Day. Fireworks are included with park admission and can best be viewed from Bayside Stadium. Park reservation is required.

4-H Virtual STEM Camp

July 13, 2020

Camps are open to youth ages 8-13 and involve 2 hours of interactive, fun, hands on activities led by UF Faculty and Volunteers “live” via Zoom. Each camp will cost $15 (Non 4-H Members)/ $10 (Active 4-H Members). There is a discount if you register for both. To reserve your spot in camp, please visit www.oc4hsummer.eventbrite.com. If you have any questions, please email orange4h@ifas.ufl.edu.