Dear Chicago Residents and Partners,
The public health guidance and response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local public health officials further study the spread and effects of COVID-19. On Friday, April 3, 2020, the CDC issued new recommendations around wearing cloth face coverings for individuals in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).
Recent studies are showing that a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 who may not currently have symptoms can still transmit the virus; these individuals are often considered asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.
Based on recent studies, pubic health officials are now advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.
This guidance is additive to the measures currently in place, and it is imperative that individuals continue to comply with the statewide Stay at Home Order, practice social distancing, wash hands with soap and water, and regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces. We all play an important role in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and preventing a strain on our healthcare system.
Stay home, save lives.