Gov. Kate Brown is urging all Oregonians to wear face masks – homemade ones are fine – when in public spaces.

“This is a rapidly-evolving situation, and each day we learn more about this virus,” said Brown. 

The CDC has updated its guidance regarding the use of homemade, cloth masks in public: wearing cloth masks in public places like grocery stores can help prevent those who are sick – particularly unknowingly infected, asymptomatic people – from spreading the virus further.

“That last point is a very important detail: wearing a cloth mask may not keep you from getting sick, but it can help you prevent spreading the virus to others,” Brown said. 

Following the strict social distancing guidelines put in place throughout Oregon earlier in the outbreak is still the best method for containing the spread and appears to be having a positive effect.  

“Staying home is saving lives in Oregon. When you’re in public for essential activities like grocery shopping, stay six feet away from other people. Continue to wash your hands and properly cover your coughs and sneezes. I know this hasn’t been easy, and I appreciate the sacrifices Oregonians have made. We must stay the course.” 

Brown also pleaded with the state’s residents to not use medical-grade masks. Those are in short supply and “desperately” needed by frontline health care workers treating COVID-19 patients.

Additional guidance is available from the CDC and the Oregon Health Authority.