At Friday's COVID-19 press briefing, Gov. Tom Wolf urged all Pennsylvanians to wear face masks any time they leave their homes for life-sustaining reasons.
“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,” Wolf said. “If we don't really, truly need to leave, then we shouldn't.”
As of noon Friday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 1,404 additional positive cases of the coronavirus since its last update Wednesday, bringing the statewide total to 8,420 — including six new cases in Butler County.
The report also said 53,695 patients statewide tested negative for the virus as of Thursday.
Locally, an initiative to create masks for health care workers, organized by Renfrew chiropractor Dr. Surkosky, has set up a GoFundMe through the Butler AM Rotary to accept monetary donations that will go towards purchasing materials and supplies for volunteers sewing the masks.
“Since the announcement of the Community Health Protection Initiative (CHP), we have been receiving calls requesting masks from health care centers, age homes, and not-for-profit agencies,” said Surkosky. “The demand is very high, so we need to get the message out to rally community volunteers and organize their efforts to produce protective quality masks following our updated guide.”
The guide can be found at www.carechiro.com and butleramrotary.com. The fundraiser can be found at www.gofundme.com/f/community-health-protection-initiative.
The best practices for making and wearing fabric or cloth masks, according to the state Department of Health includes:
• Consider buying materials online to avoid exposure in public places.
• Purchase masks made by small businesses, saving medical masks for health care workers.
• Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
• The mask should fit snugly around the mouth and nose.
• If the mask has a metal wire it should be fitted snuggly to the bridge of the nose.
• Avoid touching the mask while using it, if you do wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
• Made out of two layers of tightly woven 100 percent cotton fabric.
Mask should be:
• Discarded or washed after every use
• Should not be worn damp or when wet from spit or mucus.
To remove the mask:
• Remove it from behind, do not touch the front of mask.
• The wearer should immediately wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after removing the mask.