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Why are Masks Plus Social Distancing Better to Stop the Spread of COVID-19?

Dr. Nathan Grunewald: Hi, I'm Dr. Nathan Grunewald, Urologic Surgeon and Chief Innovation Officer at Sauk Prairie Healthcare. I'd like to take a few minutes to explain why we at Sauk Prairie Healthcare, are encouraging the community to sew and wear cloth masks in public.

The simple answer is that we believe it will help stop the spread of Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Based on the available data regarding COVID-19, we believe that covering your mouth and nose with a mask, will protect the community as a whole, and further stop the spread of the coronavirus in our community.

We understand our recommendation is different than others you may have heard. However, I wanna be clear, the cloth masks we are encouraging would not replace the vital personal protective equipment, or PPE, that is used in direct patient care in our hospital and clinics.

It is well known that individuals may be infected with the coronavirus and not have any symptoms. And during their infection they have the potential to accidentally spread it. When you talk or cough, little droplets leave your mouth, and can land on other people, or surfaces. We've all experienced this when we accidentally spit a little while talking. A cloth mask can reduce these droplets from landing on others, or other surfaces.

We are encouraging a community effort to sew and create masks from fabric you have available to you. Be creative, if you don't have fabric, try some cotton sheets or old T-shirts.

Now, the next part is really important.

Masks do not replace social distancing.

We still need everyone practicing social distancing. Stay home as much as possible, only going out when absolutely necessary. And when you do have to go out, keep that six foot distance between you and others, and wear a cloth mask.

We did not make this recommend lightly either. We had a team of physicians and staff research this idea, before making the recommendation last week.

We're asking you to participate, because we believe it's a good idea and strategy, to prevent community spread. This is a we, not me idea. So everyone needs to be diligent to protect each other, with both social distancing, and wearing a cloth mask.

So, if you can sew, please help us in this effort. You can find specific instructions on

If you can't sew, but have fabric or supplies to give to the effort, please let us know.

And I encourage everyone in our community to not be shy, and get comfortable wearing a mask when you are in public. Keep your social distance, and let's all do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

We're all in this together.

And now, since I need to get some groceries, it's time to mask up, thanks.

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