OVIEDO, Fla. – Oviedo Mayor Megan Sladeck said federal health officials are taking the right steps after recommending healthy people wear face masks to protect themselves against COVID-19.
News 6 spoke to Sladek on Thursday, who was ahead of the curve in Central Florida. She encouraged people to wear face masks while in public spaces before federal health officials supported the idea.
On Friday, the CDC announced new guidelines that said people should wear masks to stop people from transmitting the virus before they know they have it.
"I'm really glad that Oviedo stepped up to encourage people to do this. Somebody has to say the thing that seems unusual and be the first person to say it," Sladek said. "I got beat up a little bit over it, but I think at the end of the day everybody realizes this is the best way to move forward."
Health officials said you do not need to use factory-made masks and that those need to be reserved for healthcare workers. They said fabric masks can help stop droplets from spreading and potentially infecting others, especially in high traffic areas like grocery stores.
"We don't know who is infected. There is not widespread testing and I don't think we're going to get it very soon," Sladek said. "It does make sense to figure we all got it and be good humans. We need to be good humans and stop anything that could spread it from coming out of us and potentially hurting somebody else."
On Saturday News 6 saw some shoppers in Oviedo wearing face masks and others were not. As of Saturday morning, Sladek said there are 25 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Oviedo area.
This comes as Seminole County leaders issued a new order requiring positive patients to stay home after several reportedly left their houses to run errands.
Sladek is hoping more people will wear face masks now that health officials are on board.
“I think it’s a great step forward. I wish it would have come sooner, but I’m glad that at least it’s come now cause to ignore all of the droplets in these public spaces that even with the lockdowns and emergency orders, people are still allowed to get groceries. We were ignoring a huge part of the problem,” she said. “So now at least people are aware of it and I hope we’ll have 100% participation to keep everybody as healthy as possible.”
For tips from a Central Florida emergency room physician on the proper way to wear a face mask click or tap here.