Morning Mix


Spectrum Health: Cloth masks are effective way to reduce spread of COVID-19

Posted at 10:18 AM, May 22, 2020

Ever since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an order nearly a month ago requiring Michiganders to wear a face covering when they enter enclosed public spaces, face coverings have become a part of everyday life for many of us.

Spectrum Health infectious disease doctor Christina Fahlsing discussed the effectiveness of face masks and how they can best keep us safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though you don’t have any symptoms, you may be a carrier of COVID-19 or even test positive. Face masks are an effective method to reduce the transmission of the disease when in public and should be worn by everyone. A cloth face covering should be worn whenever people are in a community setting, especially in situations where you may be near people. These face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing. Cloth face coverings are especially important to wear in public in areas of widespread COVID-19 illness.

If you don't have a mask, a cloth face covering is a good substitute. Cloth face coverings should do the following in order to be effective:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

It's importance to keep your mask clean as well, but you don’t have to wash your mask after every single use. Mayo Clinic recommends that you wash it every day for best results.. If it’s visibly soiled or damp after a single use, then wash it after using it.

Click here for Spectrum Health's preferred pattern of cloth face masks:

To ensure everyone has the proper protection, Spectrum Health is collecting and donating homemade masks to be distributed to nursing homes, employees, and other facilities.

So far more than 10,000 homemade masks have been donated, and Spectrum Health is still accepting donations.

More information can be found at