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As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Kansas, including Dodge City, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made recommendations that citizens wear face masks when venturing out for essential means.


According to Ford County emergency manager Rex Beemer, a set of guidelines of what that means was provided.


"First of all, don’t run out and try to find medical grade surgical masks," Beemer said in a Facebook post. "That’s actually not what officials are recommending for the general public. In fact, they are strongly urging folks to not compete with healthcare providers and first responders for this precious, hard-to-find resource."


According to Beemer, the CDC recommendation is that cloth masks will work adequately.


"If you’re especially crafty or even only slightly crafty, you can make your own out of supplies you may already have around the house like fabric and rubber bands," Beemer said. "You also don’t have to throw a mask on first thing in the morning and wear it all day long.


"Feel free to stay comfy and mask-free in your house, car, solitary office space."


However, mask wearing is suggested under the following circumstances: When you’re out and about in areas where it is difficult to maintain safe, social distancing (like the grocery store or the pharmacy) and especially in areas where there is widespread community (person-to-person) transmission of the disease.


"While your gut reaction may be that you’re wearing it so you don’t catch COVID-19, it’s actually being recommended for a very different reason," Beemer said. "Public health officials have found that there are folks walking around with COVID-19 who are contagious, but aren’t showing any symptoms. Some may never show symptoms or some may start showing symptoms a few days after their bodies start sharing the virus with others.


"To keep those folks from unknowingly infecting others, the CDC recommends wearing masks to cover coughs, sneezes and speaking."


On Tuesday, U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall said new data from the University of Washington indicates good habits are paying off and Kansas should see its number of COVID-19 cases peak earlier than originally predicted.


“It’s working, our plan of social isolation is working,” Marshall said “New modeling shows that expected deaths in Kansas, from the coronavirus, have been cut in half and we have moved our peak date of cases up by nearly two weeks.


"This is good news for everyone and a great sign that our change in habits and personal sacrifices have paid off.”


According to covid19.healthdata.org, Kansas’ peak date has been moved from April 28 to April 18.


“We can expect the worst of the virus to be behind us by mid-May,” said Marshall. “But we can’t let our guard down too soon or this virus will strike again.


"However, I do think we can start thinking about how we get our economy fired back up, our stores re-opened and our people back to work.”


To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com