Fayette County Health Officer offers mask tips as state mandate begins

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Tuesday began the first day of the mask mandate which means everyone in the state is required to wear a mask or face covering indoors when they can’t remain socially distant. 

With all the various types of masks and face coverings out there ranging from cloth buffs to N95s, Dr. Anita Stewart with the Fayette County Health Department talked through the various types and who should be wearing what and when.

For a regular member of the public who does not care for patients, the health department recommends cloth face coverings. This can be a scarf, bandanna or the most popular, the sewn homemade masks. 

“What that does is it protects your neighbors from your own secretions, so by wearing a mask, a cloth face covering just like this, you’re protecting your friends, families, people you’re in the grocery store with from your own secretions, so you’re doing it for others,” Dr. Stewart said.  

When it comes to surgical masks and N95s, those are more effective as they prevent the secretions from coming in as they seal and fit around the face, but health officials still recommend the cloth face coverings for the public, so the N95s and surgical masks can be reserved for those who are participating in one-on-one patient care.

One of the biggest concerns we’ve heard so far are from those with breathing problems who find it difficult to wear any kind of covering over their mouth.

Dr. Stewart says it is especially important for these people to try to find a fabric that works the best for them and stay home as much as possible as they are the most vulnerable. 

“If you have really terrible breathing problems, you don’t want to get COVID-19,” Dr. Stewart said. “You’re going to get very sick with COVID-19, so really doing your best to stay home, socially distance, isolate, is my best advice for that patient population.” 

With this new mandate, some workplaces may be changing their policy. Dr. Stewart says mask policies in the workplace will be key to allowing businesses to stay open. 

“If you’re within 6 feet of someone for more than 15 minutes or you’re hugging, touching those types of things, if someone in your office gets COVID-19, your whole office is going to have to be quarantined which means your whole office will be closed,” she said. “So if you can wear masks in the workplace, you’re going to essentially prevent that from happening. You’re going to help keep yourself protected, keep your colleagues protected if everyone is doing their part.” 

The health department was handing out masks at their testing site on Tuesday.

Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.