I interviewed Coborns' Pharmacy Clinical Program Manager yesterday, about where we are regarding Covid. We discussed the most current and up-to-date information regarding masks available to the public as well as the current recommendations from the CDC.

Photo by Kelly Cordes
Photo by Kelly Cordes
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THE GOOD NEWS

Jason said there is some good news. He said there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we are seeing a decrease in cases so we just have to keep on being diligent so we can get to a better place. He shared with me the recommendations that are currently being made regarding masks.

You can listen to the entire interview by clicking the player below.

WHAT IS AN N95 MASK?

N stands for non-oil. No oil-based particulates are present. There is also an R, which means resistant to oil, and P means oilproof.

  • 95 is the efficiency rating, which means the N95 Mask filters out 95% of particulates.
  • The N95 masks are made out of electrostatic polypropylene fiber, and some of the N95 masks have a valve, which makes it easier to exhale. However, according to Jason, they are often not filtered, so it's not recommended for preventing transmission of the virus to others.
  • There have been recent studies showing that covid transmission can be reduced up to 75 fold when a sick individual and someone nearby are both using N95 masks.
  • There is another studio that shows N95 masks halved health care workers' risk of getting covid compared to surgical masks.
  • The downside to the N95 masks is that they can be more expensive, and they can also be uncomfortable for many when worn for long periods of time.
  • If you are required to wear an N95 mask at work, they must be fit tested, but some businesses offer a waiver to sign if they cant test fit the mask.

WHERE TO GET YOUR FREE N95 MASKS

N95 masks were originally being provided for those working directly in the health care industry, and thus, with the possible shortage, they did not want the general public purchasing them. However, now that supplies seem available, the White House wants to provide FREE N95 masks for the general public, and they are releasing 400 million masks from the Strategic National Stockpile.  Jason feels that the masks should be available in the area very soon. There will be a limit of 3 masks per person, and they say the best way to make sure the masks are clean are to wear them in a rotation of 3.  Wear a mask, let it air out for two days, then repeat. The masks will be distributed by the Federal Vaccine Partners for COVID Vaccinations, so in our area that would be:

  • Coborn's
  • Cash Wise
  • Hy-Vee
  • Thrifty White
  • Walgreens
  • CVS
  • Walmart

There may be others, but these were the places Jason knew they would be available from.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE AND FIT

There will be a QR Code with a link to cdc.gov/coronavirus, that will provide instructions for proper fit and use of the masks.

 

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