Op-Ed:  Masks will help keep us safe from COVID-19
 
Ronnie Sloan, FACHE
President, The Outer Banks Hospital

Many of us here on the Outer Banks know and love someone who has a chronic disease like hypertension or diabetes. These, and other chronic conditions, are all too prevalent in our community, especially in older people. As COVID-19 cases continue to escalate across the country, it has become painfully obvious that our loved ones with chronic conditions, especially in older populations, are particularly vulnerable to this virus. Cases continue to increase in the state, in our region and here in Dare County. The risk is the highest it has ever been and the virus is spreading. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we must continue to prioritize and protect the most vulnerable among us.

Wearing a mask in public is an important step in helping control the spread of COVID-19 and protecting our loved ones. We have all worked together in recent weeks to keep the curve flat by practicing social distancing, washing hands and avoiding large crowds. Now that our economy is reopening and we are seeing an increase in spread, we must continue to practice these safety measures and make them a priority. Masks are especially important when social distancing is not possible, when entering or exiting businesses and for employees who interact with customers. Masking allows us to open local businesses safely.

These are unprecedented times and the Outer Banks is resilient. Our success at keeping COVID-19 from spreading is dependent on our commitment to continue working together and taking simple steps to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the community we care about.

Thank you for continuing to do your part to help control the spread of COVID 19.

To learn how to make a homemade cloth mask, how to take care of a mask or wear one properly, visit Vidanthealth.com/COVIDResources. For more information on our response to COVID-19 and how we are protecting patients and team members, visit Vidanthealth.com/COVID19.