State mandates face coverings in public; local health officials stress the importance of following COVID-19 guidelines

June 18, 2020 /

Governor Gavin Newsom announced Thursday a state-wide mandate that requires Californians to wear face coverings while in public.

The Governor outlines in a press release that Californians must wear face coverings in high-risk areas, including in public spaces; when obtaining healthcare services; while waiting or riding in public transportation; while at work when interacting with other people; while driving or operating public transportation; and while outdoors in public spaces.

According to the California Department of Public Health, there is scientific evidence to suggest the use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission.

“Their primary role is to reduce the release of infectious particles into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes, including someone who has COVID-19 but feels well,” reads a news release.

During a press conference Thursday, Kern County officials stressed the importance of wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing and not touching one’s face.

Ryan Alsop, Kern County’s Chief Administrative Officer, said taking these precautions can have a positive impact on Kern’s hospital capacity.

“We can’t fall back in a cave for the next year,” Alsop said. “We have to find a way to begin to reopen businesses with adaptations under public health guidance…we need people to be vigilant and be aware.”

Kern County is now seeing an average of 80 new COVID-19 cases a day. Health officials confirmed Thursday 78 news COVID-19 cases and one more COVID-19 related death.

“We are really emphasizing those methods that have been proven to work,” said Matt Constantine, the director of Kern County Public Health.

Public health has been emphasizing these methods through social media campaigns and is working on a new video project that promotes these methods, according to Constantine.