ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — County Executive Adam Bello is asking that all Monroe County residents wear masks anytime they are out in public.
The universal masking recommendation is in line with new guidance from the Center for Disease Control issued Friday. As of now, the county’s recommendation is not mandatory and you will not be ticketed for not wearing masks.
That said County Executive Bello is asking for everyone’s cooperation. “We need to move about assuming we have it, or that you are coming into contact with people that have it, or you’re going to places where someone has been that has had it. So, you have to take the proper precautions now, wherever you go,” said Bello.
From the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, there’s been mixed guidance on whether or not masks would be helpful to combat the virus. County Executive Bello said the county’s recommendation has changed based on new evidence.
“Information changes from public health officials. obviously the virus is new this year and as that information changes we grow and adapt to that,” said Bello.
New evidence shows that people who don’t have any COVID-19 symptoms could still spread the virus. Social distancing is still the most important thing you can do to protect yourself, but using masks is another step meant to control that spread.
Getting your hands on a medical masks for that extra precaution has become nearly impossible in Monroe county. Most medical suppliers have sold out.
Amanda Nettnin is the operations manager at West Side Medical Supply. She says they’ve sold out of masks and are working hard to get some more. But given the high demand, that could take a while.
“It’s all over the place. Before it was many months, now sometimes it’s a couple weeks out. A month out. It all depends. Really we’re just putting all our resources to find out where we could get these.
Because of the high demand Bello said county residents should not be trying to purchase masks at stores. He said those masks should instead be saved for healthcare workers.
“We are in need of surgical, procedural, and N-95 masks for the healthcare systems. What we are asking the public to do is wear these cloth masks they can make at home,” said Bello.
The county is partnering with the United Way of Greater Rochester to get masks to Monroe County residents who might not have the resources to make the cloth coverings themselves. The organization says they need 50 thousand masks donated this week. Donated masks can be dropped off at any Good Will location and will be redistributed to residents in need.
You can read more about the county’s recommendation and watch the full announcement here.