SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- State officials said they are monitoring an uptick in coronavirus cases in Massachusetts as federal health experts are suggesting another way people can protect themselves against COVID-19.

As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, we’ve heard the importance of covering up the nose and mouth to prevent the spread.

Now, as cases have increased slightly here and skyrocketed in other parts of the country, there’s a new suggestion to protect another part of your face.

“I sound like an old, you know, an old man talking to my children when I say this, but a big part of this is about the decisions and the behavior of all of us,” said Gov. Charlie Baker.

Baker admittedly scolded the people he sees not wearing a face covering while out in public.

The governor was visiting the Pfizer plant in Andover to learn about the company’s work on developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

While the federal government has struck a near $2-billion deal with Pfizer, the vaccine now being produced hasn’t finished clinical trials yet.

Until there is an effective vaccine, Baker said mask wearing and social distancing in Massachusetts must continue.

“It is no time to let up on the basic tools that manage and support infection control,” Baker added.

Now, the nation’s top infectious disease expert is recommending people go beyond nose and mouth coverings and is suggesting people wear eye protection too.

“If, whatever your job is, allows you to come in to close contact with people, wearing eye protection may not be a bad idea,” said UMass microbiologist Dr. Erika Hamilton.

Western Mass News spoke with Hamilton about how droplets with the virus land on eyeball and then make their way into the body through tears.

“If you end up with a respiratory virus in your eye and it’s not just COVID, it could be a flu virus it could be a cold virus, it will get washed, that little duct from your eye, and into your nose and once it’s in your nose, they take up residence and you end up sick,” Hamilton explained.

Hamilton said it’s not just thick goggles that can protect you, though they would do the best job. She said large frame sunglasses and eyeglasses can form a barrier too.

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