Gov. Tom Wolf, noting the federal government is readying guidance on the wearing of masks, urged Pennsylvanians to make their own and wear them when they go to the grocery store, pharmacy and other places where people congregate.
"Wearing a mask will help us cut down the possibility that we might be infecting an innocent bystander, like that grocery store cashier, the pharmacist, or someone stocking shelves," he said in a video news conference. "These folks 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."
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Wolf urged residents to heed his order to remain at home, noting that masks "are not foolproof. So it's critical our first act is to ask if we really need to leave our house."
The best thing you can do to protect other people during the #COVID19 pandemic is stay home.— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) April 4, 2020
The second best thing you can do is wear a mask if you must leave your home.
Making a homemade mask is easy. You can find instructions at https://t.co/vruI34s7cH.
Let’s #MaskUpPA. pic.twitter.com/R7G4ORM82A
The Department of Health posted guidance on masks on its website.
The masks are not 100 percent protection and won't stop you from inhaling the virus. Health experts say by wearing face masks, you protect the people around you.
So: your mask protects them, and their mask protects you.
"You do not need a surgical mask or an N-95 mask. We have to save those for our first responders and healthcare personnel," said Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.
Bottom line, something is better than nothing, and staying at home is even better than wearing a mask.
"Remember, a mask isn't a pass to go back to work or to go visit friends or to go out and socialize. A mask is one more tool in our tool box," said Dr. Levine.
The coronavirus outbreak has now claimed more than 100 lives in Pennsylvania, as the state cracks down on non-essential businesses that are refusing to comply with Governor Tom Wolf's order to shut down during the pandemic.
The latest numbers released Friday, April 3 by the Pennsylvania Department of Health show 1,404 new positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total to 8,420 in 63 counties.
Another 12 deaths were reported, bringing the statewide death toll to 102.
As of Friday afternoon, the state was reporting eight deaths in Bucks County; two deaths in Chester County; 10 deaths in Delaware County; 11 deaths in Montgomery County, and 14 deaths in Philadelphia.
A county-by-county breakdown is available on the state's coronavirus website.