OSF HealthCare is among 100 health care systems across the U.S. urging Americans to “mask up.”
Wearing a face mask is the best strategy at slowing the surging COVID-19 pandemic, OSF reported Thursday in a news release.
“Recent studies have shown that face masks successfully limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus in two ways: by protecting the wearer against inhalation of harmful pathogens and by preventing exposure of those around the wearer,” said Dr. Leonardo Lopez of OSF St. Paul Medical Center in Mendota. “We will get through this pandemic, together. By wearing a mask, you limit potential exposure and help us conserve vital medical resources by stopping the spread of the virus.”
More than 11 million Americans have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic – including 1 million nationwide and more than 500 in La Salle County in the past week. More than 250,000 Americans have died from complications related to COVID-19.
With 13 hospitals across Illinois and one in the upper peninsula of Michigan, OSF HealthCare officials said their facilities have felt the impact of the increasing number of people with COVID-19 who require hospitalization.
This trend is causing increasing concern for OSF HealthCare, not only because of the demands on physical needs like personal protective equipment and hospital beds, but also because of a potential shortage of healthy caregivers to handle a rapidly increasing number of patients.
The next several months will be critical, according the news release. That’s why OSF is promoting the Mask Up campaign.
“We are proud to partner with these other well-respected health care organizations on this important public service campaign,” said Bob Sehring, CEO of OSF HealthCare. “The message is simple: we need everyone in the communities we serve to help us help keep our communities healthy by wearing a mask.”
The campaign’s public service 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 addition to masking, the CDC suggests that everyone minimize the number of non-household contacts, maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from other people, and limit the amount of time around others, especially while indoors and in poorly ventilated areas.
For more information about COVID-19, visit the OSF HealthCare COVID-19 digital hub at osfhealthcare.org/covid19.