Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Mask up, Team Pete

By 21st Space Wing Public Affairs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 21st Space Wing issued guidance in April 2020 mandating the wear of face coverings or masks for all individuals on Peterson Air Force Base and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station when unable to maintain six feet of physical distance in public areas and work centers. On July 16th, the state of Colorado issued a statewide mask mandate.

“The executive order requires that all individuals over 10 years old must wear a mask or other facial covering while in public indoor spaces. It is imperative that we all follow state and base health leaders on this issue,” said Col. Sam Johnson, 21st Space Wing commander. “This is the time to take all necessary precautions to ensure the health of you and your family. I implore you to heed the words of our leaders and adhere to both state and base policies. With that said, if you have a special condition in need of further consideration please bring it to the attention of your leadership. Special circumstances will be considered. We’re not out of this yet, but the sooner we work together, the sooner we will be.”

The 21st Medical Group also reiterated the importance of wearing masks.

“COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not yet have noticeable symptoms and do not know that they are infected,” said Maj. W. Taylor Timberlake, 21st Medical Group public health emergency officer. “That’s why it’s important for everyone to wear cloth face coverings in public settings and practice physical distancing by staying at least six feet away from other people.”

Timberlake said wearing masks can help reduce the viral spread of COVID-19.

“Cloth face coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice,” said Timberlake. “This is called source control. Masks are an adjunct when physical distancing is not able to be maintained, like in public spaces such as grocery store or restaurants, and can be made less effective if not handled with clean hands and if not washed or cleaned regularly.”

According to Timberlake, masks and face coverings can be laundered in washing machines at the warmest water setting, or they can be soaked in a homemade bleach solution for five minutes and rinsed thoroughly with cool water. He said to ensure they are completely dry after washing, either in a dryer or through air drying. Timberlake also said it’s important to wear masks properly.

“A cloth face covering or mask should be able to fit over the nose and mouth and secure under the chin,” Timberlake said. “They should fit snugly against the sides of the face. Ensure you can breathe easily.”

Timberlake noted there are some exceptions when it comes to who is required to wear masks or face coverings.

“Cloth face coverings should not be worn by children under the age of two or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance,” said Timberlake “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes that wearing cloth face coverings may not be possible in every situation or for some people. In some situations, wearing a cloth face covering may exacerbate a physical or mental health condition, lead to a medical emergency, or introduce significant safety concerns. Adaptations and alternatives should be considered whenever possible to increase the feasibility of wearing a cloth face covering or to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading if it is not possible to wear one.”

For more information on the Peterson AFB/CMAFS specific mask mandate, go this link: https://www.peterson.af.mil/Portals/15/2020-04-06%20Mask%20Policy%20PAFB-CMAFS%20APPROVED-SIGNED_1.pdf

The latest public health directive for Peterson AFB/CMAFS can be found here: https://www.peterson.af.mil/Portals/15/Public%20Health%20Directive%20%233%20%2815%20Jun%29%201.pdf

Mask up, Team Pete
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