Save surgical masks for medical professionals, NC health official says


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina health officials want to make sure citizens know that while the use of face coverings is being encouraged – those coverings are not the same as medical masks.

Dr. Mandy Cohen with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said medical masks need to go to those on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.

The CDC is not recommending the use of medical face masks but cloth coverings, Cohen reiterated.

Read the CDC’s facial covering recommendation

As of Monday morning, a total of 2,870 cases are being reported across 89 counties.

Cohen referenced a new report released Monday that says there is an increased likelihood of hospitals running out of beds early next month if social distancing measures are suddenly relaxed at the end of April.

But the same report showed social distancing is working in North Carolina.

Cohen also said the approaching holidays may want some to gather to celebrate.

“This is not that year,” Cohen said. She asked North Carolina be creative in how they celebrate.

Mike Sprayberry, director of the state’s emergency management, said 99 counties have declared a state of emergency in response to the pandemic.

Sprayberry said the state received 600,000 surgical masks from a private vendor on Friday. He said that is in addition to the 598,000 masks the state has received from the national stockpile.

RELATED: Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in NC

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