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JCHD Issues Public Health Advisory Encouraging Face Coverings Effective Immediately

Friday, July 24, 2020 at 10:06 AM

By Dr. John Hossler, Jefferson County Public Health Officer, news release

Every resident and visitor to Jefferson County, IN, needs to be a responsible citizen and properly wear a face covering over their nose and mouth.

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(Jefferson County, Ind.)- The outbreak of a new coronavirus continues to cause the disease called COVID-19 with Jefferson County experiencing a significant increase in numbers of confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in recent weeks. It is a responsibility of the Jefferson County Board of Health to promote the health and well-being of Jefferson County residents.

The Jefferson County Board of Health is also aware of the need to support employers in their efforts to keep local businesses open by providing guidelines to keep employees and patrons safe and to assist with the successful re-opening of local schools to in-person education by promoting a healthier community through proper mitigation. In order to protect public health, restrictions must be established to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Indiana Governor Holcomb is to sign the executive order today mandating face coverings effective Monday, July 27, 2020. We would like to encourage Jefferson County residents and visitors to go ahead and implement face coverings immediately.

With this understanding, the Jefferson County Health Officer, with the support of the Jefferson County Board of Health, hereby announces the following Advisory, effective immediately:

Face Covering Advisory

Every resident and visitor to Jefferson County, IN, needs to be a responsible citizen and properly wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are:

1. Indoors in a space open to the public - this would include, but is not limited to, any business establishment, government office or facility, public meetings, restaurants and bars when not seated or eating/drinking, the public library, or any public transportation; or

2. Outdoors in any public area where a distance of 6 feet from individuals outside of their household cannot be maintained; or

3. In any private indoor or outdoor area where a distance of 6 feet from individuals outside of their household cannot be maintained – this would include, but is not limited to, co-workers sharing the same indoor workspace for extended periods of time, private social gatherings in the home or an event space.

Additionally, employers should protect themselves and their employees by the wearing of proper face coverings and also utilizing Plexiglas barriers, if available, when in contact with the public.

An adult should supervise the use of face coverings by children aged 3 to 12 to avoid misuse (face coverings are not recommended for children 2 and under). Governor Holcomb’s mandate will mandate children age 8 and above wear a face covering.

A properly worn face covering is one that fully covers the nose and mouth, a face mask fits snugly against the sides of the face without gaps, is secured (ie. straps, ear loops) to prevent slipping, and allows for breathing with no restriction. All face coverings which are not disposable should be washed each day after use and dried completely before the next use.

Exceptions to the Advisory:

The Jefferson County Health Department recognizes that the following individuals are not recommended to wear a face covering as a result of this Advisory 01-2020:

1. Any child aged 2 years or less;

2. Any individual who has a physical disability that prevents easily wearing or removing a face covering;

3. Any individual who is deaf and needs to remove the face covering to use facial and mouth movements as part of their communication;

4. Any individual who has been advised by a medical professional that wearing a face covering may pose a risk for health related reasons;

5. Any individual who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance;

6. Any individual who is directed to remove a face covering by a law enforcement officer;

7. Any employee engaged in a work related activity where a face covering would serve to prevent or exacerbate a hazard as recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Association;

8. Any individual whose religious beliefs prevents them from wearing a face covering;

9. Any seated restaurant or bar customer while they are dining or drinking; and

10. Any individual who (1) is not in an area open to the public and (2) can maintain at least 6 feet from all other individuals not residing in his or her household.

Intent and Use of the Advisory:
The intent of this Advisory is to advise all people in Jefferson County, whether engaged in work activities, social activities, or everyday activities, to wear a face covering, as outlined herein, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This Advisory is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 throughout Jefferson County and protect public health – and should also aid in avoiding unexpected closure of individual businesses or schools. When applying this Advisory, it is important to remember the following:

1. Nothing in this Advisory reduces or eliminates the requirements imposed by the Executive Orders of Governor Holcomb or imposed by any directive or order from the local health officer, Governor Holcomb, or other regulatory local, state, or federal agency.

2. This Advisory should be used to educate, encourage, and persuade individuals to wear face coverings. Actions that contradict this Advisory do not create grounds for residents or law enforcement to stop, detain, issue a citation, arrest, intimidate, or harass individuals that do not comply with this Advisory.

3. Use of a face covering does not replace the need to take these additional protective measures:

A. Wash your hands frequently during the day for 20 seconds with soap and water. If this is not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

B. Maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance between yourself and individuals outside of your household.

C. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

D. Stay home and isolate yourself from members of your household if you are sick.

E. Avoid being around sick people.

F. Clean frequently touched surfaces often.

G. Sneeze and cough into the inside of your elbow or in a tissue.

Scope and Duration

This Advisory goes into effect immediately. This Advisory will remain in effect until rescinded by the Jefferson County Public Health Officer.
Signed July 23, 2020, in Jefferson County, Indiana.

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