The COVID-19 pandemic remains a global public health threat and one way to limit community spread of the virus is for people to take the basic safety precaution of wearing a face covering while in public to protect their personal health and the people around them.

To help encourage the community to adhere to that important message, Riverside Health System this month launched a social media campaign to promote the widespread use of face coverings, as well as continued social distancing and regular hand washing.

“The purpose of masking is to prevent you from giving the virus to somebody else,” said Rebekah Sensenig, D.O., an infectious disease specialist with Riverside. “It’s been shown that if someone who has COVID and is wearing a mask, even if they are asymptomatic, they are much less likely to spread the virus to somebody else.”

There are very few people who for medical reasons cannot wear a mask. However, those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, Sensenig said, likely shouldn’t be out in public as they are at a much higher risk of developing complications if they contract the virus.

Riverside joins other health care organizations in Virginia promoting the prolific use of face coverings.

Earlier this month, the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) launched a digital campaign to encourage widespread use of face coverings by giving away a limited number of blue cloth masks bearing the slogan “I (Heart) Virginia Hospitals.”

“This spring, Virginians joined together in adopting new behaviors to help keep each other safe and flatten the coronavirus curve,” said VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “While those efforts have worked, COVID-19 remains a serious public health concern and new infection cases and hospitalization numbers have risen in recent weeks. So it is important for people to remain vigilant about common sense safety precautions such as wearing face coverings in public.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cloth face coverings are recommended to help protect people from exposure to respiratory droplets emitted when people cough, sneeze, or talk. Emerging clinical evidence indicates cloth coverings such as face masks can reduce the spread of these droplets when worn over the face and nose. The CDC recommends that all people two and older wear a cloth face covering in public settings, and when around people who don’t live in their household.

Interested in sharing educational resources from the Riverside Mask Up campaign? Download the video materials at the following links:

Published: July 30, 2020