COVID-19 Community Update: Should I wear face masks?


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NSW Health advise that there were 2,580 cases in NSW and 16 deaths as at 4 April.

Nationally, there are 5,687 cases and 35 deaths.

The average age of all these cases is 47 years and the average age of death is 78 years.

Of the confirmed NSW cases, 245 are in the Hunter New England Health District (as at 5 April).

Within this District, ten patients are in local hospitals, including five in ICU.

Sadly and with condolences, a 76 year old man is the first person in the District to die from COVID-19 on the 4 April in a Sydney Hospital.

He was one of four passengers of the Ruby Princess to die over the weekend taking the death toll from the cruise ship to eleven.

For local postcode 2324, there are five COVID-19 cases to date, which highlights the importance of complying with all social isolation and social distancing directions.

Good news is 76 people have recovered so far, with most people (over 90%) recovering for all ages.

Australian Health Officials are hopeful that the rate of transmission is lessening, however caution that all protective measures must remain in place.

They have concerns about the risk resulting from untraceable community transmission which accounts for approximately 10% of cases in Australia.

Thinking about how to respond to this risk leads to the question: should everyone wear a face mask in public?

Recently there has been changing and new information about wearing face masks.

To date, the Australian Government has advised that masks should only be worn by people who have COVID-19 symptoms or those looking after someone who may have the virus.

This advice may change as a result of new studies and evidence.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended, “To wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. For example grocery stores and pharmacies, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”

However, wearing masks raises new challenges.

These include how to keep masks clean, dry and hygienic, how to stop touching masks while being worn, and how people wearing masks need to avoid developing a false sense of security which can lessen their compliance with the measures already in place.

Updates will be provided by the Australian Department of Health on 1800 020 080.

If you are concerned about symptoms, call your local doctor or call the Health Direct Line on 1800 022 222.


By Sandra MURRAY

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