Harrisburg, PA – During a COVID-19 press briefing today Governor Tom Wolf recommended 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, Gov. Wolf stressed the need to intensify all measures to help stop the
spread of the virus.
“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.”
“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. 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. 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. Today, he asked that wearing a mask during those life-sustaining trips becomes the norm.
“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.”
For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should visit: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.
Members of the public are encouraged to wear homemade cloth or fabric masks. Save surgical masks and N95 respirators for our health care workers and first responders. Remember this saying: “My mask protects you, your mask protects me.”
Wear a mask when:
Shopping at essential businesses, like grocery stores or pharmacies
Visiting your health care provider
On public transportation
Interacting with customers/clients at essential businesses
Feeling sick, coughing or sneezing
How to make a homemade mask:
Fabric (100% cotton is most effective)
Sewing machine or a needle and thread
Measure and cut two pieces of fabric in a rectangle pattern to fit snugly around the face (size
12 inches by 6 inches is standard for adults).
Tightly sew both layers together on all edges.
Cut fabric ties to fit around the ears.
Sew the ties to the insides of the mask on the smaller edge, repeat on both sides.
Resew the sides to ensure a tight seal between both pieces of fabric and the earpiece.
Help spread the message on social media by downloading and sharing these What Type of Mask do I Need? and How to Make a Homemade Mask graphics. Learn more about universal masking.
Find out more about the difference between homemade masks and masks for health care professionals.
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands is one of the most important steps you can take in staying healthy. When you wash, make sure you:
Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations.
If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
Cover Your Mouth and Nose
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend the routine use of face masks and respirators in the community. Most often, the spread of germs from person-to-person happens among close contacts (within 6 feet).
Avoid Touching Your Face
Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces — especially when someone is ill.
Practice Social Distancing
Stay home as much as you can
Avoid public spaces
Keep at least 6 feet between you and others if you must go out
Don’t attend or host large gatherings
Avoid using mass transit