HARRISBURG, Pa. -Governor Tom Wolf recommended Friday that all Pennsylvanians wear a mask any time they leave their homes for life-sustaining reasons as COVID-19 cases steadily rise in the state.
“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,” Gov. Wolf said.
“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.”
“Staying home is the most effective way to protect yourself and others against COVID-19,” Sec. of Health Dr. Rachel 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," Dr. Levine said.
Dr. Levine said the state has guidance on universal masking on its 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. Gov. Wolf’s statewide stay-at-home order asks Pennsylvanians in all 67 counties to not leave their homes unless it’s for life-sustaining reasons.
"With the CDC poised to announce new guidelines on this issue, I am pleased that the governor has taken this action," Pa. Sen. Pat Toomey said in a prepared statement.
"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."