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Federal, state governments now recommend use of face masks

State officials have urged Vermonters to wear cloth face marks when in public, a recommendation similar to the nationwide call from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for such protection.

According to Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine, wearing the masks can help slow the spread of COVID-19.

During Gov. Phil Scott’s April 3 press conference, Levine explained that people infected with the coronavirus — but not showing symptoms — can transmit the pathogen to others.

“I’m joining other health leaders in recommending that Vermonters wear cloth face masks in public, even if they have no symptoms,” he said.

Scott stressed that wearing masks in public “is not a substitute for staying home.” He said people should not use the masks as “an excuse to mingle with others.”

According to the CDC, homemade face masks are one option to help stretch a hospital’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The CDC stresses, however, that these homemade masks are not for use when caring for patients with COVID-19.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #556 (Wednesday, April 8, 2020). This story appeared on page A7.

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