FULTON — People who would like to provide homemade cloth face masks to frontline public workers and volunteers may donate to Oswego County’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Team and the masks will be distributed to agencies who need them.
Governor Cuomo has directed that anyone in close contact with members of the public, or out in public and less than six feet from others, needs to wear a face mask effective at 8 p.m. Friday, April 17. Exceptions are children under age two and people with conditions that prevent them from having their faces covered.
The directive applies to people at businesses, government and non-profit agencies who interact with the public, and people who are out in public and not maintaining social distancing.
Volunteers have created and donated hundreds of cloth face masks for emergency workers, but more are needed. Joanne Pantaleo is coordinating the project for the Oswego County Emergency Management Office. Those interested in donating may email Joanne.Pantaleo@oswegocounty.com or call the Emergency Management Office at 315-591-9150 and leave a message for Joanne.
Emergency Management Director Cathee Palmitesso said cloth face masks are used in county departments and agencies that interact with the public, including human services workers, solid waste employees and food pantry volunteers.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that cloth face coverings should:
• fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face;
• be secured with ties or ear loops;
• include multiple layers of fabric;
• allow for breathing without restriction; and
• be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
Renee Fox, Emergency Management Coordinator for the Oswego County Emergency Management Office, said that recent testing by the Manufacturing Development Center at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine found that the best-performing design was made of two layers of high-quality, heavyweight “quilter’s cotton” with a thread count of 180 or more, and those with an especially tight weave and thicker thread such as batiks. A double-layer mask with a simple cotton outer layer and an inner layer of flannel also performed well.
Instructions for several types of face coverings, including masks made of T-shirts, bandannas and handsewn are available online.
Additional information is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html