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State medical officer encourages Alaskans to wear homemade masks

Alaska’s chief medical officer is encouraging Alaskans to wear homemade masks when they go out in public as the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 continues to grow. 

Dr. Anne Zink says it’s one of several things Alaskans can do to help limit the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“We’re encouraging people — if you’re going to go out in public, if you’re going to go to the grocery store — to consider wearing a tightly-woven homemade mask to be able to minimize the spread in case you are asymptomatic or early symptomatic,” she said.

Both Dunleavy and Zink thanked Alaskans for the efforts they’ve taken so far to try to help slow the spread of the virus, including social distancing. Dunleavy said Alaskans are buying the state time to build up its healthcare system in preparation for a peak of cases. 

“What Alaskans are doing right now is literally saving lives,” Zink said. “We’re not far enough into this to let up the gas yet, we really need to hold that curve.” 

Zink underscored that Alaskans should wear handmade masks, and keep medical masks for health care providers. She also said people need to remember to stay at least 6 feet away from others not in their households — if not more. She reminded Alaskans to wash their hands often and clean surfaces.

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