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Metro Public Health Department to offer free cloth masks to limit spread of COVID-19

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Posted at 5:42 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 18:42:41-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Beginning May 6, the Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) will offer free cloth masks at their health centers.

The masks will be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m until 4:30 p.m. They can be picked up from the Lentz Health Center at 2500 Charlotte Avenue, the Woodbine Health Center at 224 Oriel Avenue or the East Nashville Center at 1015 East Trinity Lane.

Those who pick up a mask are still encouraged to practice social distancing to limit COVID-19 spread, as masks are not a proper substitute for distancing.

The free mask offer follows the introduction of Metro Public Health Order 4, which asks those who can safely wear a mask to do so while in public, while requiring open businesses and facilities to post signage requesting those who enter to wear a mask.

The masks offered by MPHD were provided by Governor Lee's Unified Command Group.

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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.

Prevention

The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.