Health Alert:   COVID-19 Transmission Level:   HIGH   More information
Get Vaccinated; Face Masks Required in Pima County.

Face Coverings

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Face Mask Guidance

With the dramatic increase in positive cases of COVID-19, and the arrival of the omicron variant, it is important that you not only vaccinate, but evaluate the masks you are wearing.

Omicron is highly contagious, and a well-fitting, high quality mask becomes as important as a person’s vaccination status. Think of fit, filtration and function of a mask. It is important that masks fit snugly against the face. Masks that are loose, or have gaps around the face and nose, are not as protective.

The highest quality filtration and fitting masks, are, in order:
  • N95, KN95 and KF94 are the most effective at filtering the virus and fitting to the face. These masks are disposable and will need to be replaced depending how much you wear the mask. You should dispose of the mask if it becomes soiled due to sneezing and/or coughing. N95 and KN95 can be more expensive. The website www.projectn95.org assists people to find credible sources for buy these type of masks.
  • Surgical Masks are easier to wear than N95 and KN95, are also disposable, and need to be replaced when soiled. Surgical masks act as a barrier to your mouth and nose from large-particle droplets, and also provide protection to those around you.
  • Cloth masks are the least effective and should have at least two layers. It is recommended that you wear a disposable mask under a cloth mask if you wear a cloth mask.
More information:
UPDATE, DECEMBER 21, 2021: The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted to require everyone in the County to wear a face covering in indoor public settings when six feet of physical distance cannot be maintained. 

The Pima County Board of Supervisors passed Resolution 2021-87 in response to a persistent surge of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the County, first brought on by the delta variant and now an expected larger spike from the more contagious omicron variant.

“The public should view today’s vote as a rally cry for everyone in our community to take a simple and benign action that will go a long way to protect themselves and their community from the spread of a deadly disease,” said District 2 Supervisor Dr. Matt Heinz. “Masks work if everyone wears them. So please wear one and help our community slow and stop the spread of COVID-19.”

The Board noted there is an enormous body of evidence from research conducted since the pandemic started showing masks work in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Cloth masks help contain droplets from exhalation that may contain the virus and can reduce the amount of virus that is inhaled if a contagious person is near you. Medical-grade masks, such as N95s, if properly fitted can significantly reduce if not eliminate the inhalation of virus. Reducing exposure risk reduces the amount of transmission.

Acting County Administrator Jan Lesher told the Board state law and other legal issues make it difficult for the County to enforce the mandate. Nevertheless, she advised the Board that the resolution was worth pursuing because it would serve as a “call to arms” for the community that during this period of high transmission, it is incumbent upon everyone in the community to rally together and do what’s necessary to protect themselves and others.

“Masks work. This is a simple act the people of Pima County can take that shows that we are all in this together in working to stop the spread of this disease. The Board’s action can serve as the impetus for everyone to show their community spirit and that they’re willing to do what’s necessary to protect themselves and their community,” Lesher said.

Masks continue to be required while in public transportation hubs and on public transportation including buses, airplanes, trains and ride-shares.

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