The Utah Hospital Association, in collaboration with Utah's four largest healthcare systems, are joining together in a collaborative effort to encourage the use of face masks in public and work settings throughout the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The initiative, #MaskUpUtah, kicks off on Tuesday, June 23rd and will continue throughout the summer months in an effort to help reduce community transmission of the virus.
Clinical leaders for Intermountain Healthcare, MountainStar Healthcare, Steward Healthcare, and University of Utah Health, are concerned about the rising number of COVID-19 cases occurring throughout Utah. They have come together with one voice to remind Utahns that wearing a mask can make a significant difference in helping to reduce transmission of the virus.
Utah's hospitals currently have capacity to keep up with the needs of the communities they serve. However, as the number of coronavirus cases grow, it is imperative that Utahns work together to keep the case counts at a manageable level so all patient needs – COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 –can continue to be met.
The dramatic rise in case counts Utah is currently experiencing will hit hospitals approximately seven to 10 days later. Current trends show a doubling in hospitalizations each week if the transmission rate is not reduced.
Wearing a mask is one way all Utahns can help reduce transmission and keep these vital resources available to meet the healthcare needs for everyone across the state.
While accurate information about COVID-19 continues to be clinically reviewed and verified, there are several facts clinicians agree on:
- Many people who are actively spreading COVID-19 may have very mild or no symptoms. Because they feel well, they continue to engage with their communities and family and do not realize that they need to self-isolate. Wearing a mask while at work and in public settings will help curb community spread from individuals with minimal or no symptoms.
- A lot of misinformation has been spreading recently about facial masking. However, clinicians agree that face coverings, when worn appropriately, block most infectious droplets originating from the individual wearing the face covering. Thus, blocking transmission into the community. To what level a face covering protects the individual from infectious droplets is dependent on the type of face covering the material is made from (e.g., surgical mask, cloth face covering). N95 masks used in medical and industrial settings provide the highest level of protection and are reserved for the healthcare setting.
- Frequent washing of hands, keeping a distance of 6' from others and wearing a mask are basic hygiene steps that should continue to be done to stop the spread of COVID-19. While not trendy, these steps continue to be effective.
The #MaskUpUtah campaign will be featured on several platforms including social media, digital, print, radio and billboards. The campaign will remind viewers that wearing a mask is a visible way to demonstrate concern and protection for others.
"As healthcare leaders, we earnestly request the public's help in curbing the significant increase in COVID cases in Utah," said Greg Bell, President/CEO of Utah Hospital Association. "Masking up is an important way everyone can help. Think of someone you love or care for; wear a mask for them. If we all wear our mask regularly when out in public or at work, we can bend the curve, protect our vulnerable loved ones and keep Utah's healthcare resources readily available for all."