Coronavirus: Cloth masks no substitute for social distancing, Public Health commissioner says

Dayton Sewing Collaborative volunteers  in homes around  the community have made hundreds of reusable face masks for local organizations that need them as worries mount of the coronavirus. AMELIA ROBINSON/STAFF
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Dayton Sewing Collaborative volunteers in homes around the community have made hundreds of reusable face masks for local organizations that need them as worries mount of the coronavirus. AMELIA ROBINSON/STAFF

The actions of residents will have a huge impact toward flattening the contagion curve, Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County officials said Tuesday afternoon during an update on the coronavirus situation.

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Deaths remain at two connected to the pandemic in the county, which has 132 confirmed cases with 37 hospitalizations, according to Ohio Department of Health data.

Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper said it will be impossible to know the true number of infected individuals due to limited testing, that those with mild to moderate symptoms will self-care at home, and that some will be asymptomatic.

“Assume anyone you come into contact with may be infected with the virus,” Cooper said.

The peak is predicted to be toward the end of April, early May, when a surge of patients are anticipated at hospitals in the region.

Cloth masks are one method of prevention, in terms of spreading the disease to someone else, Cooper said.

“Wearing a cloth mask is not a substitute from social distancing, nor does it prevent someone from contracting COVID-19,” he said.

The best way to avoid illness is to reduce exposure by staying home, social distancing, wash hands, disinfecting surfaces.

However, it is recommended to wear a mask out in public, and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said it is the kind and compassionate thing to do for each other.

Cooper also was joined by Mark Pompilio of the Community Blood Center, Sarah Hackenbracht, president and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, and Dr. Michael Dohn, medical director for the health department.

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