Face covers now recommended in the Bay Area

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Bay area health officials are now recommending that people who have to leave their homes for essential trips cover their nose and mouth, according to a press release from the County of San Mateo Joint Information Center.

“In addition to local shelters and social distancing requirements, wearing a mask in public is an important tool in stopping the community spread of this disease,” said Scott Morrow, MD, San County health worker Mateo in a press release. “People with no symptoms or mild symptoms may have a coronavirus and not know it. Wearing face covers helps protect others from exposure. “

San Mateo was the first county in the Bay Area to issue new guidelines for wearing face covers to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Alameda County confirmed that the guidelines were “regional” with its own publication at 5.30 pm Thursday.

“Although there is no replacement for the important role of physical remoteness and hand washing, wearing face covers is another tool to prevent the spread of this virus in our community,” said Erica Pan, head of health in Alameda County, said in a statement.

Health officials are urging the public to avoid using medical masks such as N-95 or surgical masks, which are rare and should be kept for healthcare workers.

Items such as bandanas, cloth masks and neck warmers were found to be acceptable.

The recommendation comes a day after Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti told residents that they should wear masks every time they leave their house.

“We have to protect the people we come in contact with,” said Garcetti.

A spokesman for the Santa Clara County Public Health Department said on Wednesday that he was still counting on the advice of the Centers for Disease Control, which encourages the sick and those caring for the sick to wear masks.

According to the press release issued Thursday by San Mateo County, “the circumstances have changed”.

Acceptable face covers can be made from a variety of fabric materials and can be improvised using clothing such as scarves, t-shirts or towels.

In daily press briefings this week, Governor of California Gavin Newsom resisted the release of statewide face covering guidelines and reminded people that they should not did not replace physical or social distancing.

“(Face covers) do not replace a home stay order,” said Newsom. “It is not a call for people to get N) -95 masks or surgical masks and keep them away from our first responders in our hospital system.”

The governor recognized that face covers can help reduce the risk of getting COVID-19, but stressed that face covers should be emphasized in conjunction with “evidence-based interventions such as home care, physical distance while performing essential activities and washing hands. “

Covering the nose and mouth with a cloth can also serve as a reminder to maintain physical distance.

The news of the recommendation from Bay Area health officials comes as the Trump administration finalizes guidelines to recommend that many people wear face covers in public places such as a grocery store or pharmacy.

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