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Escambia County Launches Public Health Campaign: Mask Up, Escambia!

Published Jul 2, 2020
Escambia County is launching a public health campaign, "Mask Up, Escambia!" focused on informing residents and visitors that masks are recommended by the CDC. In addition, the county will distribute face masks for the public while supplies last at the Brownsville and Ebonwood Community Centers from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, libraries, the Escambia County Extension office located at 3740 Stefani Road, and at Pensacola Beach (Tower 4 at Casino Beach or ask a lifeguard) beginning today, Thursday, July 2, during normal business hours. 

The primary message of the campaign focuses on wearing your mask to protect others, as recommended by the CDC. While the campaign applies to all ages, the primary target audience age is 25 to 34, which is the range that now has the highest number of cases in the state.

"The county has been actively communicating with the public since March about taking preventative measures against COVID-19," said Emergency Manager Eric Gilmore. "With the recent increase of testing and positive cases in Escambia County and Florida, this campaign helps reinforce the CDC's recommendation to wear face masks to protect others. Health officials have expressed that wearing a face mask is a simple ask that will hopefully prevent closures from happening. We are asking everyone to take COVID-19 seriously because there is evidence that asymptomatic people can spread this disease to vulnerable populations. As a community we need to come together and 'Mask Up' to help one another through this unprecedented time. The county has supplies, and we are doing everything in our power to ensure public safety."

The campaign includes messaging to avoid the "Three C's":
  1. Closed spaces - with poor ventilation
  2. Crowded places - with many people nearby
  3. Close-contact settings - such as close- range conversations
The risk of COVID-19 clusters is particularly high when the "Three C's overlap."

In addition to the "Three C's":
  • It is recommended to wear your mask to protect yourself and those around you.
  • Clean items used by multiple people with disinfectant.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home if you are sick or have symptoms.

As a reminder, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:  

Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when physical distancing is not possible

  • The Florida Department of Health Public Health Advisory recommends all individuals in Florida should wear masks in any setting where physical distancing is not possible, unless any of the following apply:

    • A child is under two years of age;
    • An individual has one or more medical conditions or disabilities that prevent wearing a face covering;
    • An individual is obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;
    • An individual works in a profession where use of a face covering will not be compatible with the duties of the profession; or
    • An individual is engaged in outdoor work or recreation with appropriate physical distancing in place.
    • All individuals over the age of 65 and all individuals of any age with high-risk health conditions should limit personal interactions outside of the home and take all measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
    • All individuals should refrain from participation in social or recreational gatherings of more than 50 people. For all gatherings of fewer than 50 people, individuals should practice physical distancing by maintaining a distance of at least six feet from each other and wearing a face covering.

Wash your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • If you are around others and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.

Monitor your health

  • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
    • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

If you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please contact the FDOH Call Center at 866-779-6121, or FDOH-Escambia’s number, 850-595-6500, prior to traveling to any physician’s office, emergency department, hospital, or urgent care center, to ensure proper protective measures are taken to prevent further risk of spread to others. If possible, also review your signs, symptoms and travel history with your physician over the phone. Your physician will evaluate you for other possible causes of respiratory illness and also contact the health department to access COVID-19 testing. If you are without health insurance or a health care provider, please contact the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County so the health department can coordinate your medical evaluation and testing. Most people with confirmed COVID-19 infection reportedly have mild to moderate respiratory illness and can be managed at home in coordination with their health care provider and local health department. Persons with severe illness may be hospitalized. For updates and additional information, visit Florida Department of Health in Escambia County.

The Escambia County Joint Information Center provides daily updates Monday through Friday via news releases which are then posted to our social media channels @BeReadyEscambia on Twitter and Escambia County Emergency Management on Facebook. Please visit the Escambia County COVID-19 web page at https://myescambia.com/covid-19 for additional information.

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