AppHealthCare and ARHS offer guidance on cloth masks and face coverings

Moss Brennan, Political Editor

AppHealthCare and Appalachian Regional Healthcare System are following the new recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the public wearing cloth face coverings in public settings.

The CDC recommends “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”

“We know that community transmission is occurring in North Carolina and even though we have a lower number of identified cases in our communities at this time, we believe additional tools should be added to our toolbox to help lessen the effects of COVID-19,” Jennifer Greene, health director of AppHealthCare, said in a press release.

Greene also said the use of cloth masks or face coverings by the general public should not replace social distancing and other everyday prevention measures.

Senior vice president of ARHS Rob Hudspeth encourages “everyone to use them, particularly in public locations where social distancing is difficult to maintain.”

ARHS stated that the use of cloth face coverings will not protect someone from other people’s germs. It is meant to protect other people in case the person wearing the mask is infected.

Supplies, like N95 respirator masks, can be donated at the front entrance of Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital in Linville or the security checkpoint at Watauga Medical Center in Boone.

“I know in challenging times, our High Country community always rises together to tackle any challenge we are faced with as a community,” said Stephanie Greer, director of behavioral health services at ARHS.

ARHS is accepting donations of personal protective equipment including:

  • Medical grade surgical and procedure masks
  • N95 respirator masks
  • Face Shields
  • Gloves
  • Gowns
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Homemade cloth face coverings

If you have any questions, or to receive a gift receipt for your donation, please contact Brian Whitfield at [email protected] or 828-262-9105.

Important Points about Cloth Masks and Face Coverings

  • They should cover your nose and mouth.
  • They can be worn when out in public where you may be near people like grocery stores or pharmacies.
  • They are not a substitute for social distancing. People should still keep 6 feet of distance and stay home to the greatest extent possible.
  • They can be made from household items with common materials at low cost.
  • They should not be used on children under the age of 2, people who have trouble breathing or anyone who would be unable to remove the covering without assistance.
  • They should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use. You can wash the face covering in the washing machine.
  • After you remove a cloth covering from your face, you should be careful not to touch your face and wash your hands immediately after removing.