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Coronavirus: LA County, City Officials Again Urge Public To Refrain From Buying Medical-Grade Masks

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Just one day after announcing new recommendations about wearing face coverings while in public, local officials again urged the public to refrain from buying medical-grade masks.

"Notice I haven't called them masks," Mayor Eric Garcetti said. "That's because N95 and other medical-grade masks like surgery masks are reserved for medical workers, like doctors and nurses. And using an N95 mask yourself if you're not one of them could cost a doctor or a nurse their life."

RELATED: LAPD Officers Required To Wear Face Masks In Public During Coronavirus Pandemic

Both Ferrer and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recommend homemade coverings — such as a bandana or a scarf.

"Adding a protective face covering is another tool to slow the spread," Mayor Eric Garcetti said. "We want you to keep your respiratory droplets to yourself."

But these coverings are not to prevent people from getting sick, but rather to prevent those who are asymptomatic carriers from potentially passing the illness to others.

"It doesn't protect you," Ferrer said. "But it does protect other people."

And with most stores sold out of face coverings, medical-grade or not, homemade options might be the only options at this point.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Doctors Give The Do's And Don't's Of Wearing Masks, Gloves

"It's like a hat for your face," Taylor Lewis, a shopper, said.

Lewis is taking the new recommendation in stride and covering her face to protect the couple she lives with.

"I am like rooming with an at-risk couple because they're older," she said. "So I just do it for their benefit. But, I mean, I think it's for everyone's benefit honestly."

Riverside County has also recommended the use of face coverings while on essential trips, and Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin has changed his stance on face coverings, supporting those who choose to wear non-medical-grade face coverings.

""I don't think everyone must do so, but I look upon those who do as making a responsible decision," Levin said. "I never thought I'd say that."

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