Governor Mike DeWine encouraged Ohio residents during Saturday’s coronavirus press briefing to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation (CDC) to wear a non-medical mask while in public, where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
“In many cultures around the world, wearing a mask is just part of the culture – it is a socially accepted act of kindness,” said Governor DeWine in a statement after the briefing. “Wearing a mask should not scare people. It is a good thing. It is a considerate thing. It is a courageous thing.”
DeWine was asked if he is working on securing personal protective equipment (PPE) from international sources or relying on Ohio manufacturers only. The Governor answered that he will acquire the PPE wherever he is able to find it and that a shipment is scheduled to arrive Tuesday.
The CDC has recommended people wear a mask covering their nose and mouth when they have to go out in public. This is meant to protect other individuals from infection by the wearer – especially those who are asymptomatic.
DeWine mentioned during the briefing “I’ll be wearing cloth masks sewn by wife, Fran, when out in public.”
President Donald Trump on Friday also encouraged the use of masks, but said he didn’t think he would wear them.
Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said that “while the homemade masks will not make you bulletproof, they are nearly 80 percent effective.”
Instructions for Homemade masks can be found on the CDC website.
The World Health Organization’s advice for the public during the coronavirus crisis states masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
According to the CDC:
Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Medical masks, must be reserved for healthcare workers, first responders, and those who are known to be sick. Also those with personal protective equipment have been asked to donate to frontline workers.
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
As of Sunday at press time, 4,043 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Ohio along with 119 deaths. A total of 1,104 people have been hospitalized, including 346 admissions to intensive care units.
Watch the full press briefing:
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Samantha Witwer is a reporter at The Ohio Star.