Bay Area health officials recommend wearing face coverings amid outbreak

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Health officials in the Bay Area are recommending residents cover their faces when they leave their homes during the coronavirus outbreak.

Officials say residents should cover their nose and mouths with cloth when they leave their homes for essentials such as grocery shopping or pharmacy visits.

These coverings not only protect the person wearing them but to also prevent transmission of the virus.

The masks do not have to be hospital grade. Bandanas, fabric masks and neck gaiters are acceptable, health officials said. Fabric covers and bandanas can be washed and used repeatedly.

Don’t have a mask? Here are instructions on how to make your own

Medical masks (N-95 or surgical masks) are in limited supply and must be preserved for health care workers and first responders, health officials said.

“In addition to shelter-in-place and social distancing requirements, wearing a mask in public is an important tool to stop the community spread of this disease,” says Scott Morrow, MD, San Mateo County health officer. “People with no or mild symptoms may have coronavirus and not know it. Wearing face coverings helps protect others from exposure.”

While face masks can serve as additional protection against coronavirus, they should not be used to replace physical distancing measures.

Residents should continue to abide by the plans already put in place: wash your hands, practice physical distancing, and staying at home.

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