DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. Jared Polis on Friday asked everyone in Colorado to wear protective masks when outside their houses to slow the spread of coronavirus. He demonstrated a cloth face covering in an afternoon news conference in Denver and asked everyone to share photos of their masks on social media to spread the word.

(credit: CBS)

“About 25% to 50% of people (with COVID-19) are asymptomatic. If you are wearing a mask, you may be preventing yourself from spreading it, even if you don’t know you have it,” Polis said.

He said masks can filter droplets in the air which spread COVID-19.

He also sent out a tweet saying “Let’s wear masks, Colorado! Anything that covers your nose and mouth, and doesn’t get in the way of your breathing.”

Polis made it clear that the use of medical masks like N95 face masks should be reserved only for health care workers. The masks everyday Coloradans should be using can be made with household materials such as old T-shirts. The goal is to cover your mouth and nose and not restrict your breathing.

The governor says anyone who wants more information about wearing masks when outside their homes for essential functions like grocery shopping should visit the website ColoradoMaskProject.com. Their are tips there for making masks at home.

He said after a mask is used for grocery shopping or another scenario, it should be washed with a warm cycle in a washing machine.

Colorado remains under a stay-at-home order through April 11.

On Friday afternoon, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 4,173 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state and 111 deaths. More than 22,000 people have been tested for the virus in Colorado.

Since the outbreak began, 823 people have been hospitalized in the state. Health officials are working to release the number of people who have tested positive for the virus and have been released. They said there is no way to know how many people have recovered from the virus, because many have not been tested.

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