Wear your mask

Reston, VA - In a first-of-its-kind public service campaign, four of the region's leading healthcare organizations joined forces in the fight against COVID-19 to support a simple, yet effective, message for people in the region: Wear a mask.

"Wear a mask" is a public service campaign, set to launch Aug. 12, featuring print, digital, and social media messages in English and Spanish encouraging the public to wear masks.

COVID-19 remains a huge risk according chief medical officers at HCA Northern Virginia including Dominion, Reston, and Stone Springs Hospitals, Inova Health System, Novant Health UVA Health System, and Virginia Hospital Center. They agree surges occur in communities when masks are not worn in outdoor and indoor public spaces where people gather, as evidenced in other parts of the country.

"We are in this battle against COVID-19 together," said Thomas Taghon, DO, chief medical officer, Reston Hospital Center. "It doesn't matter your political affiliation, what you do for a living, who you work for, where you live, or how much money you have, COVID-19 is an equal opportunist when it comes to infecting people."

Recent studies in Health Affairs, The Lancet and other medical journals, compared the growth rate of COVID-19 before and after mask adoption. They show mask adoption led to a significant slowdown in daily COVID-19 growth rates over time. Internationally, countries that embraced wearing masks or mandated them have had significantly lower infection and death rates due to COVID-19.

"In Northern Virginia, we are succeeding, which is one of the reasons we have been able to progress to Phase 3," said Stephen J. Motew, MD, chief, clinical enterprise, Inova Health System. "Infection and death rates in the region have remained stable and relatively low, but we are not out of the woods."

For hospitals and their frontline medical teams treating COVID-19 patients, prevention remains critical in fighting this pandemic. While healthcare workers continue to fight COVID-19 inside hospital walls, they are relying on the public to do their part by wearing masks, using good hand hygiene and social distancing.

"Science has proven that masks are effective in slowing the transmission of the virus," said Zan Zaidi, MD, clinical physician executive, Novant Health UVA Health System. "We see this in communities where mask adoption has been embraced — statistics show a reduction in death and infection."

Clinical leaders at Inova Health System, Novant Health UVA Health System, HCA Northern Virginia, and Virginia Hospital Center all agree that wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing is working.

"We cannot let our guard down," said Jeffrey DiLisi, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Virginia Hospital Center. "We must keep at it, to protect one another and ourselves from a virus for which there is not yet a vaccine or a cure."

HCA Northern Virginia, Inova Health System, Novant Health UVA Health System, and Virginia Hospital Center. #MaskUpNOVA

tags: covid-19