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‘Full force’: Gov. advises wearing a mask

Gov. Tom Wolf and state-health officials are now advising anyone leaving their home to wear a mask.

“(We are) beginning to see our first glimpses of the full force of the pandemic,” Wolf said on Friday. “We know we have community spread in many different areas. The only way we can cut the growth of this virus is to act as if we all have it.

“Today, I am asking all Pennsylvanians to wear any time you leave your house.”

He said he is asking Pennsylvanians to reserve N95 masks and paper masks for health care workers and to use a cloth or homemade masks. He said it is likely that the CDC will be recommending this step.

“Stay home unless you absolutely cannot,” he said, “and if you leave home, wear a mask.”

Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine emphasized that “staying home is the most effective way to protect yourselves and your family” but that “wearing a mask or even a bandana could be an extra layer of protection.”

Levine said the Department of Health would be posting information on how to make a mask.

“Your mask protects me against exposure to COVID-19,” she said. “My mask protects you. If the community… are wearing masks, it does protect the community.”

Friday saw the state report an additional 1,404 cases, bringing the total to 8,420 state-wide in 63 of the state’s 67 counties.

The death roll rose to 102 and Levine said all of those patients are adults.

In the midst of what is not very good news, Levine said that, depending on which model you look at, the “modeling is very positive that we will have adequate supplies” in the state’s healthcare network “to deal with the surge” of patients expected in the coming weeks.

When that surge comes, Levine said, is dependent on the effectiveness of — and compliance with –mitigation efforts implemented such as the stay-at-home order and business closure order.

“It all comes down to what we do,” Wolf said.

Wolf specifically addressed reports of anti-Asian sentiment regarding COVID-19.

“Hate is just one more symptom of this terrible disease,” he said, noting that he would support the state police charging hate crimes in these instances.

“I will keep fighting to save Pennsylvanians,” Wolf said, “their lives, their livelihoods, their way of life.”

Philadelphia (2,284) and 14 fatalities, Montgomery (875) and 11 fatalities, Lehigh (584) and five fatalities, Delaware (542) and 10 fatalities, Luzerne (484) and five fatalities, Allegheny (476) and two fatalities, Northampton (466) and 10 fatalities, Bucks (446) and eight fatalities, Monroe (397) and 10 fatalities, Lancaster (232) and five fatalities, Chester (226) and two fatalities, Berks (201) and one fatality, York (121) and one fatality, Lackawanna (119) and four fatalities, Westmoreland (110), Pike (83) and one fatality, Dauphin (79) and one fatality, Butler (75) and two fatalities, Beaver (65) and two fatalities, Schuylkill (63), Lebanon (54), Cumberland (45) and two fatalities, Washington (40), Carbon (34) and one fatality, Centre (32), Franklin (26), Wayne (23), Fayette (20) and one fatality, Lawrence (19) and two fatalities, Adams (19), Erie (17), Montour (16), Columbia (15), Armstrong, Greene (11), Mercer (10), Bradford (9), Lycoming, Northumberland (8), Indiana (7), Clearfield, Crawford, Juniata (5), Perry, Snyder (4) and one fatality, Blair, Cambria, Clarion, Susquehanna (4), Bedford, Huntingdon, Somerset, Tioga, Union, Venango (3), Mifflin, Potter, Wyoming (2), Cameron, Clinton, Forest, McKean, Warren (1).

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