COVID-19: Parkes masks-up to keep others safe, where to find face masks

Face masks are fast becoming a common sight in town with NSW Government recommendations that you wear them if you cannot ensure social distancing.

Staff at a number of businesses and health facilities are masking-up as a measure to help keep themselves, colleagues and the community safe from the spread of Covid-19.

Parkes has only had one confirmed case of coronavirus and that was on April 6. Orange had an active case from Sydney on July 31, the first one detected in the Western NSW Local Health District since April 18.

Face masks are in high demand among customers in Parkes, with several businesses selling them to anyone wishing to purchase one.

The two pharmacies in Parkes - Ron Dunford Chemist and Parkes Pharmacy - are selling masks, as are Parkes Stationery and Regional Business Supplies, Big W, Coles and the Parkes Post Office.

Craft Corner is selling hand-made fabric face masks, which are very popular.

Ron Dunford's Pharmacist in Charge Steven Farrell said he and his team chose to start wearing masks last Friday.

"The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia advised all pharmacy staff in NSW to wear masks," he said.

"Masks have been in high demand (among customers) for the last two weeks."

So much so they've been forced to put a limit on the number people can buy, which is 12 at a time.

Carol Southwell at Craft Corner said their fabric face masks are being made by a number of their members.

"They're going as fast as they're coming in," she said on Tuesday.

"Ten came in this morning, they hit the table and they were gone!"

A face mask must cover your mouth and nose, and fit well, for it to have any effect.

But how do you ensure your mask stays clean and does its job of keeping you safe?

Pharmacists say it's important to note disposable masks have a limited lifespan.

A disposable face mask should be worn for a maximum of four hours, and if you touch your face or your mask that mask is now contaminated.

Mr Farrell suggests people change their mask at lunch time and put on a new one after lunch.

If the cost is a barrier to frequently disposing of those masks, then you can buy or make a reusable cloth one.

Wash or sanitise your hands before putting your mask on and after taking it off to wash.

Masks are being described as "the fourth line of defence" in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

It's vital that people stay home if unwell, observe social distancing of at least 1.5 metres if they do go out, and regularly wash or sanitise their hands.

And anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough and sore throat, are being urged to get tested and stay home.

It's important you do not go anywhere, including the pharmacy if you are unwell.

The two Parkes pharmacies ask people to call them, instead of going into the store if unwell.

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