At Wickenburg Community Hospital (WCH) we are incredibly grateful to all community members who diligently wear masks in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep Wickenburg and the surrounding areas healthy! When our healthcare workers see large groups of mask wearers, it sends a message that our work is appreciated and respected.
We hear statements daily from our community members that there is much confusion and conflicting information about the importance of mask wearing in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Some questions we hear frequently include:
- Does mask wearing really work to protect us from COVID?
- When you see a person going maskless in public, should you say something to them?
- If you don’t say something, are you not doing enough to help protect people who are at higher risk of developing serious complications if they contract COVID-19?
The public conflict regarding mask wearing reaches far beyond our community. One might even say these are questions the Nation is asking. We at WCH believe our community members are sensible and would never actively try to put another at risk. It’s hard to know why people might not follow public health guidance. However, if one finds themselves in a situation where masks are not being worn, it is acceptable to leave or distance yourself from the non-mask wearer. Some have gone as far as requesting the non-mask wearer to please stand back or stand away while going about daily business.
We agree with public health authorities and recommend everyone wear a face mask in public and to wear it properly with a snug fit that covers the mouth and nose to slow the spread of COVID-19. Face masks combined with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing, helps slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Health authorities have advised that a cloth mask is intended to trap droplets that are released when the wearer talks, coughs or sneezes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) also recommend that we wear a cloth face mask when around people who we don’t live with in public settings when social distancing is difficult. They do not recommend using face shields instead of masks because it’s unclear how much protection the shield provides. However, it’s important to remember that wearing a face mask may not be possible in every situation. If you must use a face shield instead of a face mask, choose one that wraps around the sides of your face and extends below your chin.
Together, we can protect others while protecting ourselves. Wearing a mask properly in public, frequent hand-washing and social distancing slows the spread of the COVID-19 virus for everyone.
Jackie Lundblad, Interim CEO
Wickenburg Community Hospital