April 2, 2020 — Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday said Angelenos should wear non-medical face coverings over their nose and mouth when leaving their homes for essential tasks such as as food shopping.
"Early data suggest that folks who are infected are not symptomatic, which is why with today's guidance from Gov. Newsom and Dr. Ferrer from County Public Health, we are now recommending that Angelenos use homemade face coverings when they are in public and interacting with others," the Mayor said in a video update posted on the City's website.
“To be clear, you should still stay at home. This isn’t an excuse to suddenly all go out,” Garcetti said.
He emphasized that people should not use medical-grade masks, which are in short supply and are needed by healthcare workers and first responders.
"Please do not get medical-grade or surgical masks or these N95 masks. We must not contribute to the shortage of these essential personal protective equipment for medical personnel and first responders."
The call for face masks comes following news that the number of LA county cases of COVID-19 has doubled since Friday.
California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angell pointed out that wearing a mask reminds us to keep a safe distance from each other. She also noted that asymptomatic carriers wearing face masks are less likely to spread the virus through respiratory droplets or airborne particles.
"Wearing a cloth face covering could provide some additional benefit by acting as a reminder for other people to keep their distance, and it could help reduce the spread of infectious particles from those who could be infected but don't have symptoms," said.
But, she added, "Face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing or frequent hand washing, which we know are amongst the most effective ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19."