BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts health officials have issued an advisory recommending people wear a mask in public. Gov. Charlie Baker made the announcement Friday as the state anticipates a surge in coronavirus cases over the next 10 days.
“We’re issuing a Department of Public Health advisory that, consistent with the CDC guidance, recommends that people wear a mask or cover their face in public, when they cannot safely socially distance,” Baker said. “This protects you from others and protects others from you, it works both ways.”
He also urged people to continue to stay home, saying it was critically important to flatten the curve.
“Avoid group sports or anything where you’re hanging out with lots of other people,” Baker said. “That means no sitting around at the beach and no backyard cookouts with friends. You go out, do what you have to do, and go home. That’s it.”
Modeling projects April 20 will be the peak in Massachusetts, with about 2,500 cases of COVID-19 per day.
Massachusetts hospitals have seen a rapid increase in hospitalization. Field hospitals have been opened at the DCU Center in Worcester and the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
“Before this pandemic 11,000 beds were readily available for ICU care and acute care in Massachusetts,” Baker said. “We’re bringing approximately 3,500 additional beds online for ICU care and acute care.”
Schools and non-essential businesses are closed in the state until at least May 4. The governor said it is too early to start thinking about what comes next.
“We’ll start talking about other stuff eventually,” Baker said. “But the focus right now really needs to be on what’s right in front us. And what’s right in front of us is going to be a very difficult few weeks in managing something that’s never happened before here in Massachusetts.”