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Country faces critical moment in fight against COVID-19

DANVILLE, Pa. – Geisinger has joined 100 of the nation’s top health care systems, representing thousands of hospitals in communities across the country, with an urgent plea for all Americans – mask up, because wearing a facemask is our best chance at slowing the surging COVID-19 pandemic now.

More than 11.5 million Americans have tested positive for the virus – including an additional one million in just the past week. Geisinger has seen 13,644 positive tests since the spring but has seen a dramatic increase in the past 30 days, with 5,056 new positive tests. Nationwide there have been 250,000 deaths due to this virus, including more than 9,400 Pennsylvanians. 

The impacts of the surging cases are being felt across central and northeastern Pennsylvania. There are more patients admitted right now to Geisinger’s nine hospitals than there were in the spring. New daily records for hospitalizations have been set since November 9 at Geisinger, with a current average of one new COVID-19 admission every hour. 

The current trends are daunting and frightening. If the nation stays on its current course, hospital leaders are increasingly concerned that more healthcare facilities will be overwhelmed as shortages of healthy caregivers make it difficult to handle a rapidly increasing number of patients. Unfortunately, this is already happening in parts of our country.

The next several months will be critical. Though there has been positive news about vaccine development, no one knows when those vaccines will be ready for widespread use. In the meantime, everyone must remain vigilant, take precautions and follow public health orders.

The country has reached a tipping point. The power to do what is right is now in the hands of everyone everywhere.

Beginning today, a public service message will run in publications from coast to coast, including local publications. Geisinger is united with these hospitals and health systems to share this message: 

“As the top nationally-ranked hospitals, we know it’s tough that we all need to do our part and keep wearing masks. But, here’s what we also know: The science has not changed. Masks slow the spread of COVID-19. So, please join us as we all embrace this simple ask: Wear. Care. Share with #MaskUp. Together, wearing is caring. And together, we are saving lives.”

In an effort to reach a broader audience, the public service effort will also include messages on digital platforms, social media, online information, links to vital health resources and more. Combining resources demonstrates that these health organizations are working together, will accomplish this today and will get through this together.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points to recent studies that have shown facemasks successfully limit spread of the COVID-19 virus. Wearing facemasks protect in key ways: by protecting the wearer against inhalation of harmful pathogens and particulates and by preventing exposure of those around the wearer.

In addition to masking, the CDC suggests that everyone minimize the number of non-household contacts, maintain a physical distance of at least six feet, and limit the amount of time around others, especially while indoors and in poorly ventilated areas. For further information about masking guidelines – how to choose a mask, how to properly wear a mask – visit the CDC website.

 

About #Maskup:
everymaskup.com is a collaboration of 100 leading health systems representing thousands of hospitals across the U.S. joining together to create messages for the betterment of communities they serve. The impetus for this, and other public service campaigns to follow, came from a group of health care marketing and communications executives meeting for a decade and reengaged weekly since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The goal is to share knowledge and experience, best practices, strategies and resources- knowing they can accomplish more together. Founded and led by Rhoda Weiss, Ph.D., Los Angeles-based national health care leader and consultant, the expanded coalition is partnering with Cleveland Clinic Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Paul Matsen and his team for this effort. Additionally, hospitals and health systems on a regional basis continue to come together to send messages like these of prevention and safety, hope and healing, life and death, care and caring.

About Geisinger
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes nine hospital campuses, a 550,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With nearly 24,000 employees and more than 1,600 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at www.geisinger.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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For media inquires:

Marc Stempka
Media Specialist
Marketing & Communications

570-214-3091
mstempka@geisinger.edu