Q: How does wearing a mask or cloth face covering slow the spread of COVID-19?
Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth minimizes the spread of COVID-19. It creates a barrier that helps prevents respiratory droplets from traveling into the air while people are speaking, singing, coughing or sneezing.
Many people have the virus but don’t know they have it because they have no symptoms.
Wearing a mask protects others and reduces the chance of unintentionally spreading the virus.
Q: Should I wear a mask or cloth face covering?
A: If you are able, we strongly recommend wearing a mask or cloth face covering when physical distancing is hard to maintain and you are around people who are not members of your household. With that being said, masks should not be used as a substitute for physical distancing. For the best protection, you should both physical distance and wear a mask.
Do not wear a mask if you have trouble breathing or are unable to remove it without assistance. Do not put masks on children under 2 years of age.
Do not wear a mask with a valve.
Because the valve releases unfiltered air when the wearer breathes out, this type of mask doesn't prevent the wearer from spreading the virus.
There are additional situations where wearing a mask could introduce safety concerns. For example, if you are engaging in high intensity activities, such as running, you may not be able to wear a mask. It's also recommended that you don't wear a mask when swimming as it is difficult to breathe through a wet mask. There may also be work hazards that don't allow for a mask, such as factories where straps could get caught in machinery or there is a risk for heat-related illness.
Click here for more situations where you may want to consider an alternative or adaptation.
Q: If I'm caring for someone with COVID-19, should I wear a mask?
It is most important that the person who is sick wears a mask, this is called “source control.” To prevent getting sick, caregivers should continue to practice key preventive actions: avoid close contact as much as possible, clean hands often; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; and frequently clean and disinfect surfaces.
Q: I wear a mask when I go to public places, but I see a lot of people not wearing masks. Why isn’t the health department making it a requirement for everyone to wear masks?
A: Winnebago County does not currently have a local ordinance providing the authority to enforce health orders like a mask requirement. Winnebago County would need to adopt WI State Statute 252 in local ordinance for health orders to be enforceable for the entire Winnebago County Health Department jurisdiction. Even though this is not an enforceable mandate, it's still a strong recommendation that everyone who is safely able to wear a mask should wear a mask.
Q: How can I voice my opinion regarding the health department’s ability to create and/or enforce health orders for our community?
A: We appreciate citizens voicing their concerns/opinions regarding the health precaution measures taken locally to ensure that decisions are representative of the community we serve. Contact your County Board Supervisors to make sure they have well-represented information when making their decisions/votes on how health precautions are implemented in Winnebago County.