A lesson from hospital workers and hair stylists: Wear a mask and we’ll be safer
As we begin to see another uptick in the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, I’d like to share some of what we’ve learned at Edward-Elmhurst Health in the past six months.
Most people who contract the coronavirus (85%) have no symptoms or mild-tomoderate symptoms.
Some people have more severe symptoms and need to be hospitalized. Those individuals are more likely to be older, immunocompromised, or have chronic conditions such as diabetes, respiratory disease, heart conditions or obesity. But not always.
Whether hospitalized patients die or are discharged home, the disease is devastating. Patients are extremely sick, often requiring mechanical ventilation, intensive care and weeks in the hospital. The suffering experienced by our patients and their families has been immeasurable and has had a profound and unforgettable impact on our health care workers.
COVID-19 is very contagious. Why? Because it is “novel,” or new. This means our bodies have no means to fight it.
We do know, however, how to reduce the spread and your likelihood of contracting the virus: Wear a mask. Wash your hands and avoid touching your face. Practice physical distancing — at least 6 feet apart.
This week, the Centers for Disease Control published a report about two hair stylists who were positive for COVID-19. Between them, they serviced 139 clients. Not one of the 139 exposed individuals became infected. Why? Because the salon insisted that the stylists and their clients wear masks. That’s it. Quite simple, isn’t it?
Our health care team has worked long and grueling hours over months to do everything possible to protect the health of our community. Their sacrifices have been and continue to be humbling.
The way you can protect yourself and those around you is simple, but not always easy to practice, especially at a gathering where those around you are not wearing masks. I get it. But there is simply no denying that wearing a mask is the most effective means we have for preventing the spread of coronavirus.
It is the responsible thing to do. Wear a mask and protect yourself and those around you. And take a stand; remind others of the importance of wearing a mask. It is our civic responsibility and the honorable thing to do. Mary Lou Mastro, System CEO Edward-Elmhurst Health