With new rules, use of masks reaches a tipping point – Greenfield Daily Reporter

HANCOCK COUNTY Face coverings have joined phones, keys, purses and wallets among the things people now must grab before heading out the door.

Health and government officials for weeks have encouraged their use to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Starting this week, the biggest stores in Hancock County began requiring shoppers to don them before coming inside. Next week, a statewide order goes into effect mandating their use in many situations.

For those who havent obtained any masks yet, theyre available to purchase unlike early in the pandemic and are easily made. A search on Amazon Thursday afternoon for COVID-19 face mask turned up 1,000 suggestions.

Gov. Eric Holcomb on Thursday, July 23, signed an executive order calling on Hoosiers to wear masks in all indoor spaces starting on Monday, July 27. The order also applies to any outdoor space where distancing is impossible. Also on Thursday, Indianas attorney general, Curtis Hill, issued an advisory opinion suggesting Holcomb had overstepped his authority to issue the order, but that opinion doesnt block it from taking effect, The Associated Press reported.

The requirement, coming amid a rising number of infections statewide, is designed to blunt transmission of the novel coronavirus as Hoosiers interact more freely, Holcomb said. According to state figures, up to 40% of people who harbor the virus may have no symptoms and so may be unwittingly spreading it to others, prolonging the outbreak and putting more people vulnerable to serious illness at risk.

But what type of mask should people be wearing starting on Monday?

According to guidance posted by the Indiana State Department of Health, cloth, non-medical face coverings are appropriate for people interacting in public. Medical-quality face coverings, such as N95 respirators, are considered critical supplies that should be used only by health-care workers. Surgical masks, the guidance says, should be reserved for health-care workers and first-responders who are in close contact with patients.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a cloth face covering may not protect the wearer, but it may keep them from spreading COVID-19 to others.

Masks should fit snugly; cover the bridge of the nose; and should tuck under the chin.

A face covering can take many forms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a YouTube video called How to Make Your Own Face Covering. In it, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams walks through simple steps on how to make a covering by folding a scarf, bandanna, hand towel or T-shirt and using a couple rubber bands.

Hancock Health, meanwhile, recently donated more than 250,000 ear-loop face masks to the community.

Amanda Everidge, director of community health improvement for healthy365, an arm of Hancock Health that promotes healthy living, said the masks were donated to schools, cities and towns, local businesses, law enforcement, nonprofit organizations, churches, mental health providers and long-term care facilities.

Those in need of being connected to resources within the community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged to reach out to the healthy365 Connection Center by calling 317-468-4231.

Meanwhile, This week, Walmart and Kohls, which have locations in Greenfield; and Meijer, which has stores in McCordsville and Cumberland, started requiring shoppers to wear masks. Kroger and Home Depot, which also have locations in Greenfield, started their shopper mask mandate on Wednesday.

Walmart has stationed heath ambassadors to remind those without masks of the new requirements and to work with those who dont have one.

Not far into the Greenfield store beyond its entrance stands a display of five-packs of washable masks selling for $7.50 each.

This week, signs outside the Walmart and Kroger stores reminded shoppers about the new requirements. Many shoppers were complying, judging from visits by a reporter.

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With new rules, use of masks reaches a tipping point - Greenfield Daily Reporter

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