THE LATEST ON THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) OUTBREAK
Governor Wolf: All Pennsylvanians Should Wear Masks
(PHOTO: A man wearing a protective mask and gloves leaves a supermarket, Friday, April 3, 2020, in Chelsea, Mass. The new Coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people; but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer.)
Governor Wolf began his statements by noting that in the four weeks since Pennsylvania confirmed the first case of COVID-19, the number of cases has continued to climb recently, with more than 1,000 new cases each day.
While he stressed the importance of people staying home unless they absolutely must leave for life-sustaining necessities, he noted that trips to purchase groceries and needed supplies still present opportunities for the virus to spread.
“Today, I’m asking all Pennsylvanians to wear a mask in public,” he announced.
“Masks help prevent people from sharing illnesses. But, they don’t do a great job at keeping people from getting sick; and, they’re not foolproof. So, it is critical that our first act is to ask ourselves if we really need to leave our house. If we don’t really, truly need to leave, then we shouldn’t.”
He went on to note that masks cut down on the possibility of unknowingly infecting the people around us, including those who continue to keep our grocery stores and other life-sustaining businesses up and running.
“Wearing a mask will help us cut down the possibility that we might be infecting an innocent bystander, like the grocery store cashier, the pharmacist, or someone stocking shelves,” Gov. Wolf said. “These people are keeping us alive by getting us the supplies we need. We owe it to them to do everything we can to keep them safe. Right now, that means wearing a mask.”
He specified that he is requesting that the general public use cloth masks, and preserve N95 and paper masks for the healthcare workers who need them in the front lines of this battle.
He also related that a guide from the Pennsylvania Department of Health on how to make your own mask is now available, and noted that cloth masks can also be purchased online.
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine also reinforced many of the points Governor Wolf made in his address.
“Staying home is the most effective way to protect yourself and others against COVID-19,” Dr. Levine said. “But, if you must go out because you are out of food or medication, then wearing a mask, or even a bandana across your nose and mouth, could be an extra layer of protection.
“You don’t need a surgical mask – we need those for our health care workers and first responders. We have guidance on universal masking on our website, including instructions on how to make your own mask using materials you have at home.”
As of midnight, Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 cases stand at 8,420 in 63 counties with 102 deaths. Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine continue to emphasize the statewide stay-at-home order that asks Pennsylvanians in all 67 counties to not leave their homes unless it’s for life-sustaining reasons.
“In Pennsylvania, we want to be ahead of the nation in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Wolf stated.
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