COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton weighed in on the homemade masks we’ve seen trending on social media during the coronavirus outbreak.
The country is facing a shortage of personal protective equipment, or PPE, during this health crisis. N95 masks are especially is short supply.
While the Ohio Department of Health is shipping boxes of masks and other gear to local health departments and corporations are donating their supplies of PPE, individuals are making their own masks. Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine even highlighted the fabric masks to start Wednesday’s coronavirus news conference.
Acton applauded the actions and innovation of Ohioans. She said the Centers for Disease Control has guidelines for using bandannas and scarves, but we are not to the stage where our health care workers will be using them on the front lines. The CDC does not consider homemade masks PPE.
The state’s top doctor pointed to countries in Asia, where it is common courtesy to wear masks when you’re sick to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets. Those masks do serve a purpose.
“That mesh is not going to keep out, like an N95, a microscopic virus from coming in, but will certainly protect someone from sneezing on someone else,” Acton said.
Right now, experts in the industry are working on ways to sterilize surgical masks with steam and UV so they can be reused, Acton said.