TECH BYTE: Navigating COVID-19 Tests, Counterfeit Masks
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — As COVID-19 continues to spread, the Centers for Disease Control is urging us to step up our game to get the most protection possible.
We can do that by getting tested for the virus, and wearing the right face mask.
Tech can help.
Since they’ve gotten harder to find, we now have another way to track down COVID-19 tests, and you don’t even need to leave home.
The White House recently launched covidtests.gov, so you can order four free ones, which will usually ship in seven to 12 days.
This website is also a great resource for finding a place that’ll test you right away if you don’t have time to wait around for a delivery.
The feds are also giving out 400 million free N95 masks, since the CDC updated its mask recommendations.
The White House says they’ll be available at community health centers and pharmacies across the country soon.
Because of these changes, N95 and KN95 masks are hot items right now, and easy to find online. But not all masks are created equal.
The CDC warns that there are plenty of websites out there selling counterfeit masks that won’t protect you like you think they will.
The agency says more than half of these higher quality masks on the market are fake.
Fortunately, there are ways to spot them, so you can avoid getting ripped off.
There are several things to look out for.
An N95 mask – which is certified in the U.S. – needs to have a NIOSH label on it, or within the packaging.
NIOSH stands for National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
It also needs to have a TC approval number on the filtering facepiece respirator or headband.
The CDC says to also watch for typos. If something’s spelled incorrectly, it’s fake.
There also shouldn’t be any decorative add-ons like sequins or special fabric on the mask.
And, the facepiece respirator should have headbands, NOT ear loops.
If you’re looking to get a KN95, it should NOT have a NIOSH label, since it’s made in China.
You overwhelmed yet?
You can find all of these tips, along with how to properly wear and take care of your masks, on CDC.gov.