The Wyoming Department of Health is now recommending that Wyoming residents wear face masks if they are in places where people congregate, such as grocery stores or pharmacies.
The department, following the lead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the use of masks will prevent people from spreading coronavirus to others in situations where social distancing is impossible.
“We want you to stay home and away from other people as much as possible,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state’s health officer. “But if and when you do need to go out into the community, this is an extra voluntary measure CDC is suggesting to help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting to others.”
Health officials have said repeatedly that standard masks will not prevent someone from catching coronavirus.
But Harrist said it is becoming clear that some people can spread COVID-19 even if they show no symptoms of the disease.
“This means the virus can spread between people who are close to each other without them realizing it is happening,” Harrist said.
She added that ideally, people should continue social distancing whenever possible.
“It is critical for everyone to continue following the public health orders we have in place in Wyoming,” she said. “Wearing a face covering is absolutely not a substitute for social distancing, which remains important to slowing the spread of this virus.”