Introduction: The transmission of respiratory infectious diseases such as COVID-19 can significantly decrease by mask-wearing. However, accurate information about the extent and proper use of the facial mask is scarce. This study’s main objective was to observe and analyze mask-wearing behavior and the level of COVID-19 protection measures in indoor public areas (PAs) of Jefferson County, Kentucky.
Methods: For conducting the observational survey study, targets were indoor PAs, and zip codes were defined as surveying clusters. The number of selected PAs in each zip code was proportional to the population and the total number of PAs in that zip code. The PA pool in a zip code was divided into four groups, followed by random selection without replacement from each group.
Results: A total of 191 PAs were surveyed: 50 of them were grocery stores, 56 were convenience stores or pharmacies, 39 were wine and liquor stores, and 46 were other stores. At least one unmasked and one incorrectly masked staff were observed in 26% and 40% of the sampled PAs, respectively. Also, in 29% and 35% of the PAs, at least one unmasked and one incorrectly masked visitor were observed, respectively. The rates varied by PA size and county district. Eighty percent of unmasked staff and 75% of the unmasked visitors were male. The rate of unmasked males varied from 50% to 100% across districts. About 66% of unmasked staff among all Jefferson County districts were young adults. More than one-fourth of all the PAs provided hand sanitizer for visitors’ use, and only 2% of the PAs provided masks to their visitors.
Conclusion: Messaging about mask use and correct usage may need to particularly target the 19-44-year-old male population, as these individuals were the most prevalent among those unmasked and masked incorrectly. Additionally, businesses’ protective measures may depend on their resources to operate in such a manner. Hand sanitizer is easier to offer visitors, while staffing to regularly sanitize carts or funds to provide a sufficient number of wipes, gloves, or masks may present further opportunities for government assistance.
Louisville Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness, through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
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Karimi, Seyed M.; Salunkhe, Sonali S.; White, Kelsey B.; Alzahrani, Sahal A.; Little, Bert; McKinney, William P.; DuPre, Natalie; Mitra, Riten; Chen, YuTing; Popescu, Martha M; Adkins, Emily R.; Barclay, Julia A.; Ezekekwu, Emmanuel; He, Caleb.He X.; Hurst, Dylan M; Kothagadi, Aravindreddy; Shakib, Shaminul H.; Swinney, Devin N.; Johnson, David A.; Hollenbach, Rebecca; and Moyer, Sarah
"Facial Mask Use and COVID-19 Protection Measures in Jefferson County, Kentucky: Results from an Observational Survey, November 5−11, 2020,"
The University of Louisville Journal of Respiratory Infections: Vol. 5
, Article 7.
Available at: https://ir.library.louisville.edu/jri/vol5/iss1/7