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Homemade Face Coverings and Mitigation Methods for Employers

With medical-grade face masks still in critically short supply, a homemade face covering may be the only option.

A tightly woven high-thread-count fabric, can filter out some 70% to 79% of small particles including viruses. This is better than surgical masks that normally filters out 65% of particles but not better than N95 masks that filter out 95%.

To find out if a material is a good candidate for a mask, perform “the light test.” Hold the material up to a bright light. If you see light between fibers it’s not a good filter. If the material passes the light test, the next factor is breathability. Hold the material up to your face and ask – ‘If this was tightly adhered to my face can I make it through a trip to the grocery store?’ ”Vacuum-cleaner bags rank high, but are considerably more difficult to breathe through.

If you’re unable to find a material that passes the light test, don’t give up on making a mask. “Anything is better than nothing,” When making a mask, ensure there is no loose material that may get caught in machinery.

Other mitigation methods:

  • Use no touch thermometers to check employees before starting work. – If they have a fever, they must stay home.
    • An oral reading above 99.6 degrees for people younger than 65, and 99.5 for folks above 65, are good benchmarks.
    • Thermometers appear to be readily available at this time.
  • Implement enhanced disinfecting following CDC guidelines

External resources from the CDC:


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