Wolf to state: ‘Wear a mask’

    Days after ordering Pennsylvanians to stay inside under most circumstances, Gov. Tom Wolf is asking all Pennsylvanians to wear a mask when they leave the house.

    Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said that bandanas and scarves could also serve as substitutes if used properly.

    Instructions to make a homemade mask are on the Department of Health’s website here

    Wolf and Levine added that surgical and N-95 masks should still be reserved for first responders and health care professionals.

    According to Federal Emergency Management Agency data released by the U.S. House Oversight Committee Thursday, Pennsylvania requested 494,392 N95 masks from the federal government. The commonwealth will receive 112,250, or a little less than 23 percent of its ask.

    In the meantime, Levine said the state was scouring the country for medical supplies and even looking into sterilizing and reusing some personal protective equipment.

    The advice was not based on any change in the pandemic’s spread, but off a change in public health thinking, Levine said.

    “A mask isn’t a pass to go back to work, or visit friends, or go socialize. A mask is one more tool in our toolbox,” she said. 

    Earlier this week, Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey had called for a similar mask advisory nation wide. In a statement, Toomey said he was “pleased” with Wolf’s move.