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A Message About Masking

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A Message About Masking

St. Joseph Regional Medical Center Urges Community Members to Wear Masks

St. Joseph Regional Medical Center is urging community members to wear face masks or cloth face coverings in public areas where social distancing is not easily achieved to help stop the spread of COVID-19. This aligns with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as being an effective way to prevent the spread of the illness. St. Joe’s had already instituted a universal masking protocol within its facilities and continues to require anyone entering to wear a face mask at all times.


“St. Joe’s strongly encourages our community members to wear masks because each of us plays an important role in helping to keep our community safe and protect one another from the spread of infectious diseases,” says Dave Souvenir, MD, infectious disease physician at St. Joe’s. “One of the easiest and most effective ways we can look out for each other and aid in the fight against COVID-19 is to wear a face mask in public spaces right now.”


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, standard infection prevention practices existed for prevention of spread of contagious infections such as tuberculosis, influenza, MRSA, chicken pox, certain types of meningitis and others. We now add COVID-19 to list of infectious diseases that necessitate extra precautions.  It is not the common cold.  Although some people may have no or mild symptoms, others may be hospitalized with serious illness and die from the disease.  These extra precautions not only reduce individual risk but potentially improve the health of our local population. "Our national public health leaders and the CDC have made this recommendation and we should follow it. Our regional rates have increased recently, and we shouldn’t wait for higher prevalence to implement this simple intervention," says Dr. Souvenir.


“Until there is a vaccine, wearing a mask in public, practicing social distancing and proper hand hygiene are our best lines of defense in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” Dr. Souvenir says. “That’s why we established a universal masking protocol in our facilities and we’re continuing to encourage our fellow citizens to do the same in other public places. By looking out for each other, we’ll get through this together and continue making our community healthier.”


Face masks and cloth face coverings should be worn over the nose and mouth and be held securely in place with loops or ties. For more information from the CDC on face coverings and how to make your own or to learn more about how St. Joe’s is working to ensure the safety of patients during this time, visit St. Joe’s website at