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Kittitas County officials are directing everyone in the county to wear cloth face coverings in response to COVID-19 starting Saturday, according to a news release from the Kititas County Public Health Department.

Individuals who are at indoor or confined public settings must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth if they will be within six feet of a non-household member. Face coverings must be worn outside as well when you cannot maintain a six foot physical distance, the release states.

Cloth face coverings may include cloth face masks, scarves, bandanas or other materials recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All commercial establishments in Kittitas County are required to post signage advising individuals to wear face coverings.

According to county officials, scientific research is showing that masking helps to block infectious droplets from spreading when someone with an infection coughs, sneezes, breathes, or speaks. When enough people are masking, it is an effective tool against the spread of COVID-19.

Cloth face coverings are enough protection and people should not purchase N95 masks to prevent COVID-19. Although, some people may be told by their medical provider that they need to wear an N95 at this time. Some individuals do not need to comply with the directive:

• Children under 2

• Any child under 12 years of age, unless supervised by a parent or caregiver

• Any individual who is deaf and uses facial and mouth movements as part of communication.

• Individuals advised by medical professionals that masking would pose a health risk.

• Any individual who has trouble breathing or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.

The directive may and should be used to educate individuals to wear face coverings to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. The face covering directive will also be included in the report to the state in regarding to Kittitas County moving to Phase 2.

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