Doctors say medical masks not necessary yet for coronavirus

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – While there was a new coronavirus case announced Thursday afternoon in Chicago, the risk is still low in the U.S. at this point, and doctors at Miami Valley Hospital said wearing a surgical mask is just a physical barrier, and while they do keep out some germs, they’re not recommended at this point.

Earlier this week, surgical and painters masks were seen all over the Miami University campus where two possible cases of coronavirus were still being investigated.

READ MORE: Miami University, health officials discuss possible coronavirus

The masks were also seen at grocery stores and the Dayton International Airport.

Dr. Roberto Colon, the Vice President of Quality and Safety for Premier Health and the Assistant Chief Medical Officer for Miami Valley Hospital, said while these masks aren’t hurting, they don’t know if they’re helping.

“We don’t yet know if that is adequate or not, based on trying to get more information about this virus,” said Colon. “Because it is something that every day we’re getting new information, we’re uncovering new things about it.”

He said they are recommended for anyone who is already sick to help prevent their illness from spreading.

“Because they may be coughing, they may be sneezing, these masks actually prevent any of those droplets from being released,” said Colon.

But there is one type of mask, called the N95, that the CDC is recommending health care professionals use with diagnosed or possible coronavirus patients.

“The N95 will filter out about 95 percent of all particulates that are smaller than .3 microns, so that’s a very, very tiny particle that some of the other surgical masks just aren’t going to be able to protect against, because they’re not as well sealed and they’re not as well filtered,” said Colon.

There is something that Colon and other infectious disease doctors say will help prevent you from getting sick.

That’s washing your hands and doing it frequently.

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