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MSDH: Everyone needs to wear a mask

Three additional Lincoln County residents tested positive for COVID-19 Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 21. One death has been reported by the Mississippi State Department of Health for the county.

Statewide, the MSDH has reported an additional 177 confirmed cases and eight deaths as of 6 p.m. Monday. There are now 1,915 confirmed cases in Mississippi, and 59 people have died from the disease.

In addition to a statewide stay-at-home order that continues to be in effect, the MSDH —  along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — is urging the public to cover their mouths with cloth masks when going out in public is unavoidable.

“All Mississippi residents should wear non-medical grade masks or homemade cloth masks when shopping, running errands, or otherwise away from home,” MSDH wrote. “Face covering is especially important when a distance of at least 6 feet cannot easily be maintained between persons. This recommendation does not include manufactured (surgical) or N95 masks, which should be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders.”

The recommendation comes from recent research that people can spread the virus, even if they are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. SARS-CoV2, the virus behind COVID-19, is known to spread from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, according to information published by the CDC.

The CDC cautions that while wearing a cloth mask can reduce the transmission of respiratory droplets, it is not a substitute for social distancing.

The MSDH also noted that people should not touch their eyes, nose or mouth when removing a mask. Cloth masks should be washed frequently in a washing machine, and those wearing a mask should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water immediately after removing it.