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ROCHESTER — As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise, Monroe County is now asking everyone to wear a mask if and when they leave their home.

County Executive Adam Bello made the request on Monday saying whether you’re taking the dog for a walk, going to the grocery store or you’re an essential employee going to work, you should wear a mask to try and slow the spread. 

Bello wants members of the public to wear homemade, fabric masks as there is a shortage of surgical and N-95 masks and what is available, should be reserved for healthcare workers.

A fabric mask will help prevent you from getting someone else sick if you have the virus and don’t know it yet, but the mask alone will not protect you from contracting the virus. 

After consulting with medical experts, Bello thinks a county-wide universal masking policy in addition to continuing social distance recommendations and frequent hand-washing is the best course of action at this time.  

The hope is that you don’t have to go anywhere and can sit tight at home until the apex of this pandemic comes and goes but the reality is most of us have to run at least a few errands weekly, so when you do, you’re asked to wear the mask.  

“We do have to stop the spread of this disease. We need everybody to take this seriously and understand that this is a very serious situation. We are losing lives in our community and while this has been going for a few weeks, it's going to continue to go for a few weeks more and we need cooperation from the public, we also need you to start wearing your face coverings,” Bello told News 10NBC on Monday.

If you can sew and want to make masks for others, you can donate them to any Goodwill store locally and they will be distributed to those most in need.  

Otherwise, you can make a mask with a piece of fabric and two rubber bands. Click here to see a demonstration.