Spokane Regional Health District weighs in on CDC’s N95 mask guidance

SPOKANE, Wash. — The CDC is now saying both N95 and KN95 masks are the best protection against COVID and the fast-spreading omicron variant.

While the CDC urges that these are the best, well-fitted masks to protect you, the main message continues to be that any mask is better than no mask.

4 News Now asked Spokane Regional Health District what it thinks about the change and our health leaders echo the same message.

There’s no longer a shortage of N95 and KN95 masks for healthcare workers like there was early on in the pandemic.

If you’re able to get your hands on these high-quality masks, it’s highly encouraged.

“What makes a KN95 so good is that it’s made of fibers that catch all the particles in the air,” said Spokane Regional Health District Public Information Officer Kelli Hawkins. “Plus it has a headband rather than the ear loops. It just really gives you that really tight, snug fit.”

But before you throw your current mask away, it’s important to note that high quality masks can be more expensive and you have to watch out for fake ones.

Mask Guidance Full

Source: CDC

N95 respirators that are NIOSH, or National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-approved, offer the highest level of protection.

They filter out 95% of particles.

Respirator masks in general have the best protection while disposable and cloth masks offer some, but not as much.

Disposable, surgical masks still have good fiber material to block those particles.

The best cloth masks are layered well and have a metal wire you can bend at the bridge of your nose.

“One thing about the KN95 is that, you know, it is such a snug fit that it can be uncomfortable for some people,” said Hawkins. “So if you’re not going to keep it on, then choose an option that you will wear the entire time that you’re out in public.”

Spokane Regional Health District has this message — the best mask is one you’re actually going to wear.

So you don’t have to throw yours out quite yet, just make sure you wear the one you have properly.

If you are interested in purchasing a pack of N95 or KN95 masks, Hawkins says to check online, or check with a local drugstore or pharmacy about its supply.

The Biden administration also announced overnight Tuesday new plans to send high-quality masks to all Americans.

Spokane Regional Health District continues to stress that taking all measures to prevent COVID spread will get our community through this surge — that means masking, social distancing and getting vaccinated and boosted.

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