The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that Americans wear cloth face coverings (masks) in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This recommendation is being made based on studies that show a significant proportion of people with COVID-19 lack symptoms and can transmit the virus to others in close proximity, through speaking, coughing, sneezing or other means.

Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, strongly recommends that Ohioans take the following actions:

  • Use coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and public parks.
  • Maintain 6-feet social distancing whenever possible, even if you are wearing a face covering.
  • DO NOT place cloth face coverings on children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • DO NOT use medical supply masks, which must be reserved for healthcare workers, first responders, and people who are known to be sick.
  • Make cloth face coverings from household items or common materials. Use multiple layers of a fabric that does not damage or lose shape when laundered or machine dried.
  • Support small businesses selling fabric masks at a reasonable price, but watch out for scammers offering high-priced or so-called superior masks.
  • Use coverings that fit snugly but comfortably and allow for breathing without restriction. Secure with ties or ear loops.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing the face covering and wash your hands immediately after removing.
  • Launder coverings after each use. Avoid wearing when wet from laundering or from spit or mucus.

DIY Face Coverings

  • Use tightly woven fabric (preferably cloth that lets minimal light shine through) such as quilting cloth.
  • If you need to buy materials, consider purchasing online to avoid public places.
  • The CDC offers instructions on creating a  no-sew face covering  out of a T-shirt; or out of a bandanna, coffee filter, and rubber bands. You will also need scissors.
  • The CDC offers instructions on  sewing a face covering  with 10-by-6-inch rectangles of tightly woven cotton fabric. You will need a sewing machine, needle and thread (or bobby pin) and scissors. You also will need elastic, rubber bands, hair ties, string, or cloth strips

For answers to your COVID-19 questions, call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

If you or a loved one are experiencing anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic, help is available. Call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 (1-800-846-8517 TTY); connect with a trained counselor through the Ohio Crisis Text Line by texting the keyword “4HOPE” to 741 741; or call the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services helpline at 1-877-275-6364 to find resources in your community. 

Additional resources:

Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings, Especially in Areas of Significant Community-Based Transmission:

Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19:

Video: Dr. Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General: How to Make Your Own Face Covering:

Kaiser Permanente Fabric Face Mask Instructions (sewing machine needed):

Photo by Farmhouse Frocks