Wolf shutters schools for at least two weeks

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf provides an update on the coronavirus known as COVID-19 on Thursday, March 12, 2020. (Joe Hermitt/The Patriot-News via AP)

HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday recommended all Pennsylvanians wear a mask any time they leave their homes for life-sustaining reasons.

As COVID-19 cases steadily rise in the state, 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,” 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,” state Secretary 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, including 19 positive cases in Lawrence County. 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. 

“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.”

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