Written by: Ofek Laks, Public Health Intern at Lake Country Medical Concierge
With the new COVID-19 Variant known as Omicron sweeping all over the United States, it is important we continue taking precautions. The Georgia Department of Health has reported as of January 18th, 2022 that there are “1,679,773 confirmed cases” in the State of Georgia. With the number of cases continually increasing, it is crucial to be prepared when leaving the house. As well as, continue practicing social distancing and wearing a mask when possible.
How Masks Work
Covid-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets when the people around you cough, sneeze, talk, and breath. In order to protect yourself and others around you the CDC recommends the continued usage of masks due to the increase in Omicron cases. The effectiveness of masks depend on how they fit one’s face and if there are filters or respirators inside to block the respiratory droplets.
Types of Masks
There are 3 types of masks that help with the prevention of contraction for COVID-19 and each have their own statistics on how effective they are. The CDC has come out with recommendations on which they believe is the best for protection.
The most common type of masks are the cloth masks. The benefits of these masks are that they have no nose wire so it allows for more flexibility, and it is a breathable fabric that can be customized to whatever designs people want to wear. Unfortunately, cloth masks are the least effective and are recommended only if you do not have another option. The EPA reports that these masks are only about “80%” effective for the prevention of spreading the virus. Another downside is that there are gaps arounds the side of the face and they are not as effective if they become wet or dirty, so there needs to be constant maintenance with their cleanliness.
The next best masks that are recommended are procedure or medical masks. These are disposable masks with a nose wire that allows for a proper fit around the nose, mouth and chin for protection. A benefit of these masks is that they have been known to be easier to breathe in compared to cloth masks and KN95 masks. They are also disposable so if they happen to get dirty you can throw them away and get a new one with no issue. The EPA reports that they provide up to “90%” of protection from respiratory droplets. A downfall is that they can sometimes not fit properly around the face since it has a wider fit. The CDC recommends that if you wear a disposable mask, to pair it with a cloth mask on top to provide the most protection while still being able to breath properly.
The masks that provide the most protection when it comes to the spreading of COVID-19 are the KN95 masks. These masks include respirators that provide surgical protection against not only respiratory droplets, but other hazards that can occur. The benefits of these masks are that they can be sealed tightly to your face if fitted and the EPA reports that it provides more than “95%” of protection from the virus. These masks have also been approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) for having a specific quality requirement on the amount of protection.
Lake Country COVID accessibility
Feel like you are experiencing symptoms or want to get your COVID-19 vaccine? Lake Country Medical Group has resources and accessibility for all of their patients needs via appointment. We are able to offer PCR and antibody testing to those who desire it through our front desk via email for appointments. Vaccinations are also available at Lake Country Medical Group through appointments for the Moderna Vaccine and Booster. The contact information for joining the waitlist for the vaccine clinic is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not want to wait on the list for an appointment here at Lake Country Medical Group, we can also give recommendations to locations where they offer both rapid and PCR tests. Call the front desk for more information. Lake Country Medical Group has also started the infusion of REGEN-COV antibodies for current patients who are post-exposure to COVID-19 and need preventative measures if not fully vaccinated. In order to make an appointment join the same waitlist as the ones above.