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Dear HOPE members,

HOPE’s goal is for members to continue to deploy safely and effectively despite the pandemic. HOPE’s stance is founded in regulatory guidelines from resources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Because of the infectious nature of the Omicron variant, the CDC updated recommendations for wearing a mask with a higher degree of protection. The goal of this communication is to raise your awareness by conveying information and providing resources by which you may purchase and care for these new tools. 

The CDC recommends the following masks: the N95; the KN95; and the KF94.  These masks offer a high degree of protection. Use this link to learn more information about these recommendations:

Fit:  Finding a mask that fits properly and is comfortable will make it easier to consistently wear throughout your deployment.  Since there is a variation in styles and fit, this may require purchasing one or several of these masks. 

Purchase:  In effort to keep member safe, make your search easier, and you from purchasing counterfeit or defective products, below are links to reputable vendors who carry authentic masks:

Storage and Care:  In order to increase the effectiveness, caring for these masks is important.    Current recommendation is to use one mask a day while rotating through 3 to 4 masks.  After use, each mask should sit from 3 to 5 days in a cool dry place.  This allows the virus to die. Many recommend placing the mask in a paper bag when at rest. 

You can also bake an N95 mask by hanging it from the rack in the oven using a wooden dowl at 158 degrees for 30 minutes.  Do not let the N95 mask touch metal during this process.  This link will give you more details on mask care.  It is recommended not to use a mask more than 5 times/40 hours of use.

Additional Recommendations: Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Make adjustments only to the straps. If you touch your mask or straps, wash your hands with hand sanitizer or soap and water. 

Avoid: Avoid the use of cloth masks, procedural or surgical masks while the Omicron variant is still dominant.   

Our goal is for HOPE to continue to deploy safely and effectively despite this pandemic.  Please wear your mask, wash your hands frequently, and social distance when able.  Stay safe out there.  Thank you for all you do to help people in crisis.

Additional resources and links for your education:

Keena Jones
HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response

VISION:  HOPE is dedicated to deploying, upon request, certified working canine teams trained to provide support to every person affected by stress and trauma in order to live a healthier, more balanced life.

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HOPE AACR · 1292 High St # 182 · Hope Aacr · Eugene, OR 97401-3238 · USA