Regional health systems team up in campaign to promote COVID safety guidelines

Nationwide movement to #MaskUp designed to stop the spread of the disease

Credit: Penn State Health / Penn StateCreative Commons

HERSHEY, Pa. — As initial COVID-19 vaccine doses get shipped to hospitals across the country to protect frontline teams, Penn State Health, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health and WellSpan Health are reminding everyone to stay vigilant in following safety guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Central Pennsylvania with the #MaskUp campaign. Over 100 health systems with hospitals numbering in the thousands have signed on in the effort to help keep Americans safe and stem the pandemic.

“The vaccine is an amazing tool in our fight against the virus, but only if necessary safety guidelines continue to be followed to prevent the pandemic from overwhelming those on the front lines,” explained Dr. Eugene Curley, medical director of infection control for WellSpan Health. “We know the only way we can defeat this is by working together.”

“Everyone can relate to the challenge of living in social isolation and refraining from some of our favorite activities,” said Dr. Michael R. Ripchinski, chief clinical officer at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. “It’s a critical time to have our community’s support for health care workers on the front lines by wearing a mask to stay safe and reduce infection.”

“Following the proven precautions we’ve been promoting for months will remain vitally important until we have enough vaccine to protect everyone,” said Dr. Peter Dillon, chief clinical officer at Penn State Health. “Each of us has a role to play in keeping our communities safe.”

Experts say it could take months for enough doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to arrive for community members who wish to take it, so the need is more important than ever as cases continue to surge across the region.

The public service campaign is a plea from healthcare professionals everywhere: Wear a mask and follow other precautions to save lives and help get our country back on its feet. This message is critical as vaccinations ramp up over the next several months.

While the campaign is a nationwide effort, the three health systems locally are leading in getting the word out in TV and print advertisements, as well as social media messages to reach as many as possible with the critical message.

We know that continuing to take precautionary measures is tough. Here’s what we also know: The science has not changed. Masks slow the spread of COVID-19. Diligently washing our hands stops its transmission. And staying six feet apart from those we don’t live with makes it harder for the disease to spread, too.

The numbers of positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to increase. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 20 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 resulting in over 350,000 deaths as of Jan. 5.

If current trends continue, hospital leaders are increasingly concerned 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. Even though vaccinations have begun, widespread distribution is months away. Everyone must remain vigilant, take precautions, and follow public health orders.

Visit everymaskup.com to learn more about the campaign and the other health systems across the country that are involved.

Last Updated January 05, 2021