Survey: Majority in Montgomery County favor wearing mask, large number report seeing incorrect usage

Dr. Travis Gayles: 'We want to make sure that people take these messages to heart'

Montgomery County, Maryland, released results of a survey that finds most people support wearing a face covering during the pandemic, but a large portion of respondents said they have seen people wearing them improperly.

The survey, which was shared through the county’s social media accounts along, with other applications such as WhatsApp and Nextdoor, found that 91% believe face coverings are “very important” to stop the spread of COVID-19.

But 78% said they have seen people wearing them incorrectly, especially when it comes to properly covering the nose.

“This is helpful information for us because it lets us know that we need to double down on some of the basic messages that we’ve been preaching,” County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles told WTOP.

Gayles said that the county soon plans to roll out a new social media and bus advertisement campaign with slogans to promote the use of face coverings, such as “No Half Masking It” and “No Noses Exposed.”

“We want to make sure that people take these messages to heart,” Gayles said. “Because a mask that is fitted properly that covers the nose and the mouth is the most impactful way to use face coverings.”

Sixty-one percent also reported seeing people wear masks inside buildings and outside, where social distancing is not possible, but want to see more people doing so.

Gayles said the county’s COVID-19 “numbers have plateaued,” coupled with improvements in the volume of testing. He also pointed out that the county’s current positivity rate, “which is around 3.3%,” is below the state average.

“There’s indicators to show we’re moving in the right direction, but have not seen a significant downward trend in cases over the last three weeks,” Gayles said.

Gayles was also asked about the recent communication sent jointly by several local health leaders, including himself, to Maryland’s deputy secretary for public health.

The letter, sent via email, was signed by health officers in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County. It indicates that they were all considering a “range of revisions” to the current status of restrictions due to a rise in new cases statewide.

Gayles said Montgomery County was part of that communication “to make sure that we are thinking through, looking at the data and are mindful of the trends happening in our state.”

“The options that were put out there were a range of different options that we were communicating that we knew that different jurisdictions were looking at,” Gayles said.

Gayles was asked if Montgomery County is considering a complete rollback of the phased-in reopening.

“At this point, we aren’t moving forward with repealing any of our current practices that are allowed as it relates to Phase Two, nor are we at this time moving forward with increasing capacity or moving to a higher phase level of activity,” Gayles said.

Montgomery County has been one of the most cautious jurisdictions concerning the pandemic and was the last to follow the rest of Maryland in entering a phased-in reopening.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Ken Duffy

Ken Duffy is a reporter and anchor at WTOP with more than 20 years of experience. He has reported from major events like the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, 2016 Election Night at Trump Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up