HARRISBURG (Newsradio 1020 KDKA/AP) - Pennsylvania’s Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced on Friday that wearing a mask while outside could add an “extra layer” of protection when someone goes out of the house for food or medication.
Dr. Levine stresses that staying inside at home is the best way currently to fight coronavirus, but when you do go out, a cloth mask “is one more tool in our tool box to protect ourselves against the spread of COVID-19.”
“A mask isn’t a pass to go back to work or to go visit friends or to go out and socialize,” Dr. Levine added.
Governor Tom Wolf joined Dr. Levine’s call and is urging all Pennsylvanians to wear a mask to keep people safe.
Two days ago, I amplified our social distancing efforts by instituting a statewide stay-at-home order, and today I am asking all Pennsylvanians to wear a mask any time they leave their houses,” Gov. Wolf said. “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.”
Dr. Levine adds that there is now information on the state’s COVID-19 website on how people can make their own mask using materials at home.
Dr. Levine adds that the public should try to use a cloth mask and that surgical masks or N-95 masks should be reserved for those in healthcare.
“It’s important to remember that your mask protects me against exposure to COVID-19 and my mask protects you against exposure so if the community that are outside at a food store are wearing masks, it does protect the community.
PA Senator Pat Toomey issued the following statement following the Wolf Administrations decision:
“Earlier this week, I urged the Wolf administration to update state guidelines and encourage all Pennsylvanians to wear cloth masks or facial barriers if they must leave their homes. With the CDC poised to announce new guidelines on this issue, I am pleased that the governor has taken this action. Wearing a cloth mask when in public will limit transmission of the virus, which can be spread through saliva emitted in a cough, sneeze, or even when speaking and breathing. Put simply, my mask protects you, and your mask protects me.
“I echo the governor’s warnings that N95 or surgical masks should be reserved for front-line health care workers, and that a cloth mask or facial barrier is not a substitute for staying home and regularly washing our hands, but it is an important complement.”
On Thursday, The Trump administration was formalizing new guidance to recommend that many, if not almost all, Americans wear face coverings when leaving home, in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.”