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Health Officials Encourage Proper Practice When Sanitizing Face Masks

Paducah Fire Department

  Governor Andy Beshear announced at his daily COVID-19 press conference Monday that Kentuckians should be wearing cloth face coverings in public beginning May 11. West Kentucky health officials are encouraging residents to properly sanitize the cloth in between uses. 


The cloth coverings do not necessarily prevent transmission of the coronavirus, but they are a helpful tool in fighting community spread.


“The reason for wearing cloth face coverings is not necessarily to protect the wearer, but to protect those nearby,” said University of Kentucky Textile Specialist Jeanne Badgett.


The cloth face coverings are not the same as surgical masks or respirators, and Beshear said hospital-grade Personal Protective Equipment should be reserved for healthcare workers. 


Those wearing face masks should also consider guidance from local health officials regarding the cleaning and sanitizing of the coverings. The Paducah Fire Department is warning residents not to microwave the masks with the goal of sanitizing them. This creates a serious fire hazard. Stephanie Hays with the Calloway County Health Department said washing the coverings is the best way to sanitize after use. 


“Please wash these face coverings in a washing machine before you wear them as an extra precaution,” Hays said. “Also, please routinely wash them after use, don’t touch your face/mouth/eyes, and wash your hands after you remove your mask.”


The Centers for the Disease Control is publishing instructions for sewing homemade cloth face coverings here. More information on the COVID-19 pandemic in Kentucky can be found at


Dalton York is a Morning Edition host and reporter for WKYU in Bowling Green. He is a graduate of Murray State University, where he majored in History with a minor in Nonprofit Leadership Studies. While attending Murray State, he worked as a student reporter at WKMS. A native of Marshall County, he is a proud product of his tight-knit community.
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