December 9, 2020 –
We heard some very good news last month - several vaccines against COVID-19 will soon be on their way.
While the end of this pandemic may indeed be in sight, we aren't there yet. But we do have a way to help stop the spread of COVID-19 - stay home if you can, keep a distance of 6 feet between you and people not in your household, wash your hands thoroughly and often, wipe down frequently touched surfaces, and wear a mask.
Wearing a mask has been proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19. In fact, one study calculated that more than 100,000 lives could be saved by the end of February 20201 in the USA alone if 95 percent of us wore a mask in public, especially when indoors or if social distancing isn't possible. That's more than 1,000 American lives saved each day with a simple precaution.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shares these "dos" and "don'ts" on choosing a mask:
• Wear masks to help protect yourself from getting or spreading COVID-19
• Wear masks with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19
• Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
• Put masks on someone two years and younger
• Put masks on people who have trouble breathing, or people who cannot remove the mask without assistance
• Wear masks intended for healthcare workers, for example, N95 masks, which may be in short supply
Make sure you're wearing and using your mask correctly. Wash your hands before you put on your mask, and don't touch the mask while you're wearing it. You should consider the outside of your mask contaminated if you've worn it in public.
When you take off your mask, handle it by the ear loops or ties only - don't touch the fabric of the mask. Fold the outside corners together so the contaminated outside fabric is closed in the middle, and wash your hands after you've put the mask in the laundry.
Most cloth masks can be washed with your regular laundry, using your normal detergent and the warmest water appropriate for the fabric used to make the mask. Dry your mask on your dryer's highest heat setting and make sure it's completely dry before you wear it again.
10 Reasons to Wear a Mask
FHN's healthcare providers and staff are proud to wear masks to protect their patients, themselves, our communities, and you. Here are 10 good reasons to wear your mask:
1. Wearing your mask helps businesses, especially our local small businesses, stay open. The quickest path to opening the economy back up is to control the virus.
2. The COVID-19 virus can travel 20 feet through the air and hang there for a while - and that's not counting sneezes, coughs, and talking.
3. People notice, including our children. Be a role model for healthy, safe behavior.
4. Wearing your mask shows essential workers - which includes everyone who can't work from home - that we appreciate them.
5. Testing for the virus alone, without wearing masks, won't stop the spread of COVID-19.
6. Wearing your mask protects you from people who aren't good at social distancing.
7. Wearing masks has worked to slow other pandemics.
8. You could have COVID-19 and not know it -- a person can be contagious for up to 72 hours before he or she has any symptoms.
9. We can do MORE, not less, if we all wear our masks, like getting back to school, church, and social events.
10. Even with a vaccine on the way, we're not out of the woods yet.
For the past few weeks, we've been highlighting FHN providers on Facebook in our #WearAMask campaign. We hope you'll join us and wear your mask correctly and consistently whenever you're outside your home.
If you'd like to learn more about precautions to help stop the spread of COVID-19, visit our special pandemic information page at www.fhn.org/coronavirus.