Avera Among Top U.S. Health Systems Encouraging Everyone to #MaskUp
Growing numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths are troubling; facemasks can slow the trend
Avera joins nearly 100 of the nation’s top health care systems, representing thousands of hospitals in communities across the U.S., coming together with an urgent plea for all Americans – mask up, because wearing a facemask is our best chance at slowing the surging COVID-19 pandemic now.
More than 11.5 million Americans have tested positive for the virus – including an additional one million in just the past week – leading to nearly 250,000 deaths.
The current trends are daunting and frightening. If the nation stays on its current course, hospital leaders are increasingly concerned that more healthcare facilities will be overwhelmed as shortages of healthy caregivers make it difficult to handle a rapidly increasing number of patients. Unfortunately, this is already happening in parts of our country.
The next several months will be critical. Though there has been positive news about vaccine development, no one knows when those vaccines will be ready for widespread use. In the meantime, everyone must remain vigilant, take precautions and follow public health orders.
The country has reached a tipping point. The power to do what is right is now in the hands of everyone everywhere.
Beginning today, a public service message will run in The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times. Additionally, hospitals and health systems across the country will continue to unite to share these messages regionally.
The message reads:
“As the top nationally-ranked hospitals, we know it’s tough that we all need to do our part and keep wearing masks. But, here’s what we also know: The science has not changed. Masks slow the spread of COVID-19. So, please join us as we all embrace this simple ask: Wear. Care. Share with #MaskUp. Together, wearing is caring. And together, we are saving lives.”
In an effort to reach a broader audience, the public service effort will also include messages on digital platforms, social media, online information, links to vital health resources and more. Combining resources demonstrates that these health organizations are working together, will accomplish this today and will get through this together.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points to recent studies that have shown facemasks successfully limit spread of the COVID-19 virus. Wearing facemasks protect in key ways: by protecting the wearer against inhalation of harmful pathogens and particulates and by preventing exposure of those around the wearer.
Avera has long been a supporter of masking during this pandemic, and was instrumental in the Mask Up South Dakota campaign, as well as Avera’s own Wear Because You Care campaign.
“COVID is being widely spread in our communities and we are seeing a high rate of positive tests. We’ve also seen increased hospitalizations,” said Kevin Post, DO, Avera Medical Group Chief Medical Officer. “Wearing a mask is a key way that we can all protect each other. It’s all about loving your neighbor and looking out for one another. It’s something we can all do.”
In addition to masking, the CDC suggests that everyone minimize the number of non-household contacts, maintain a physical distance of at least six feet, and limit the amount of time around others, especially while indoors and in poorly ventilated areas. For further information about masking guidelines – how to choose a mask, how to properly wear a mask – visit the CDC website.
To learn more about Avera’s work with COVID-19, visit Avera.org/covid-19