Wear a mask for your neighbors and your community: A call for action from DHW Director Dave Jeppesen


The continued increase of COVID-19 cases in Ada County, and other areas of the state, is troubling. On social media, we are being asked “What can we do to slow the spread?”  In the absence of a vaccine or therapeutic interventions, the answer is simple, and it bears repeating:

  • Keep at least six feet between you and others in public
  • Wear face coverings in public places 
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Wash your hands often
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Disinfect surfaces and objects regularly


During the last few months, the subject of wearing a mask has been hotly debated in public forums (and especially on social media) throughout the United States. In Idaho, some cities and counties are requiring the wearing of masks in public places when it is difficult to maintain six feet of physical distancing. Many businesses nationwide are requiring masks upon entry. We support those efforts.

At DHW, we highly recommend wearing masks or cloth face coverings. It helps slow the spread of COVID19 and shows your concern for your friends, neighbors, and community. There is mounting evidence that masks do prevent the spread of the virus, if we all wear masks or cloth face coverings properly.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wearing a cloth face covering will help protect people around you, including those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and workers who frequently come into close contact with other people (e.g., in stores and restaurants). Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings. The spread of COVID-19 can be reduced when cloth face coverings are used along with other preventive measures.

Reminder: Surgical masks or respirators should be reserved for healthcare works and other first responders.


  • A recent study published in Health Affairs compared the COVID-19 growth rate before and after mask mandates in 15 states and the District of Columbia. The study found that mask mandates led to a slowdown in daily COVID-19 growth rate, which became more apparent over time.
  • review of the research in International Journal of Nursing Studies found that “community mask use by well people could be beneficial, particularly for COVID-19, where transmission may be pre-symptomatic.”
  • study from the CDC found that Navy service members on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which experienced a large Covid-19 outbreak, were less likely to get infected if they reported using a mask. Researchers concluded that the use of face coverings and other preventive measures could mitigate transmission.
  • Another study looked at coronavirus deaths across 198 countries and found that those with cultural norms or government policies favoring mask-wearing had lower death rates.

This list is not comprehensive. There are many studies coming out on a weekly basis. Overall, the studies indicate that masks reduce the transmission of the coronavirus and other respiratory diseases by the general public.

Ultimately, my ask of you and yours is to support each other. Support your community. Support Idaho.

Stay safe and have a great weekend.

2 thoughts on “Wear a mask for your neighbors and your community: A call for action from DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

  1. Jimmy Johnson

    You might want to tell the Governor since he doesn’t seem to understand the communicable of respiratory viruses. Waiting until the infection rate reaches 20, 30 or more per 10,000 or hospital ICU beds are at 90% will be too late. People need to understand that wearing face covers is what will keep businesses to stay open and allow schools to safely restart. If you accept no smoking areas to protect the health of others, then you should embrace public health measures that may actually save your life. It’s not just about personal rights, its about personal responsibility.

  2. Pingback: DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Wear a mask in support of Idaho’s economy – DHW Voice

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