Sefton health leaders advise on use of face coverings

As face coverings become mandatory on public transport and in hospitals, Sefton health professionals have come together to remind local people of the best ways to reduce the risk of spreading or catching coronavirus (COVID-19).

With more shops opening and as more people will be out and about, the government guidance is to wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces to reduce the spread of the virus.

Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We know that some people can have coronavirus but only have mild or no symptoms, or that symptoms don’t show until a few days after catching it.

“This means there is a risk that people could spread the virus to others without realising they are infected. Face coverings, in addition to regular hand washing and staying at least two metres away from others, can really reduce the risk of transmitting Covid-19.”

It is now mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport, although very young children, disabled people and those with breathing difficulties are exempt. It is not currently mandatory to wear face coverings in other enclosed spaces such as shops, but people are of course free to do so if they wish.

Margaret Jones, Interim Director of Public Health for Sefton, explained: “A face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. They can be easily made from things you have at home like an old t-shirt, or you can simply tie a scarf or bandana behind your head.

“Whatever you use, it is important to wash your hands before putting it on and after taking it off. Face coverings can be reused, just store in a plastic bag until you have the chance to wash it with your other laundry.

“Many shops have hand sanitiser at their entrances to wash your hands and clean the handles of trolleys or baskets. You should also wash your hands as soon as you return from the shops or from work.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, added: “To reduce the risk of transmission, all visitors and outpatients in all hospitals in England must now wear face coverings and all hospital staff must wear face masks. This includes mental health hospitals and private hospitals.

“Patients will be reminded of this new rule when they receive their appointment details. These new measures for staff and patients are in addition to the existing infection prevention and control measures in place, this will help keep our hospitals safe for everyone.”

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