The Honorable Jim Coppinger
The Honorable members of the Hamilton County Commission
Dear Mayor and Commissioners,
As healthcare leaders on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know first-hand the devastating toll this infection has taken on our residents and our economy. Last July you took the bold step forward in stemming the spread of this virus by mandating masking in public places for every Hamilton County resident above the age of 12. At that time our medical professionals were certain that masking, when practiced with social distancing, was the most important factor to control the risk of person-to-person transmission.
In the ensuing three months, the incidence of new COVID-19 cases began to abate in Hamilton County from a peak of 175 new cases on July 16 to a low of 49 on Oct. 4, which our team widely attributed to the mask mandate. Now is the time to increase our vigilance as we are seeing a slight increase in new cases, and we are entering into the winter months when people are gathering for holidays and spending more time indoors. It is vital that we all strictly adhere to the use of masks and practice social distancing measures, if we want to avoid a fall or winter resurgence.
In the past eight months we’ve learned a great deal about this virus. We are certain that COVID-19 is spread not only by symptomatic individuals, but by those who have no symptoms and don’t even know they are infected. The stealth nature of COVID-19 transmission is the single most important factor to remember when deciding to wear a face mask in public or even in small gatherings. It is a simple, pragmatic solution that will reduce transmission of the disease.
We applaud you for your strong stand in mandating the public use of face coverings. It is almost certain that COVID-19 will continue to negatively impact our community for the foreseeable future. We are compelled, as stewards of our community’s health care resources, to be a strong voice for measures that keep our community safe.
Janelle Reilly, Market Chief Executive Officer
Matthew Kodsi, MD, Vice President, Medical Affairs
* * *
Would someone from the hospital please enlighten me by answering the following two questions?
Whenever I see video or pictures of hospital/clinical staff working with coronavirus patients, they are wearing PPE to include double masks, face shield, and a suit covering them from head to toe. They basically look like an astronaut.
But you are telling me to believe that wearing a simple cloth mask prevents the spread of the coronavirus. If that’s so, then why are medical staff so scared they are wearing all this protection?
When will we no longer be required to wear masks? When will this virus magically end? Nov. 4?
* * *
In response to Mr. Watson’s request for “enlightenment“ relative to differentiating between (A) hospital employee personal protective equipment use, while treating confirmed, infected COVID-19 patients; and (B) the courteous public wearing of textile face masks by our friends and neighbors, I offer the following:
Hospital employees are wearing personal protective equipment as mandated and legally required by the United States Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Hospital employees are working in very close proximity to confirmed infected patients for entire 12 hour work shifts.
On the other hand, the CDC recommendation that Mr. Watson and all of his friends and neighbors should be wearing textile face coverings, when in the presence of others, is intended to slow transmission of the virus by preventing individuals, who may not even know they are infected, from spreading viral particles to and infecting others. It is a simple, selfless act of compassion and courtesy.
Simply put Mr. Watson, hospital personal protective equipment is calculated to stop the spread from killing your doctors and nurses.
Textile face coverings are intended to slow the spread, which might keep you or your loved ones from ever being face-to-face with a double masked, gowned and face shielded intensive care unit team trying to save your life.
The choice is yours.
Michael Mallen, health, safety and environmental attorney