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A Joint Statement on the Spread of COVID-19 in South Carolina from the South Carolina Medical Association, the South Carolina Hospital Association and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina           

 

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Every day we see reports of COVID-19’s impact on the people of South Carolina. We have watched these numbers closely, and we are concerned about the health and safety of our citizens. All of us can help.

Wearing a face mask in public is one way to help slow the spread of this disease. This is a new disease, but there is growing medical evidence that wearing face masks along with handwashing, social distancing, testing and isolation can successfully limit the spread of the virus. What do we know?  

  • COVID-19 primarily spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets from infected persons when they cough, sneeze or even speak. 
  • Respiratory droplets can travel as many as 6 feet or more depending on air currents.
  • Many people may get the virus but not have any symptoms. Even when symptoms do occur, it can take up to 14 days for them to appear.

This means that anyone can spread the virus without knowing it, which is unsafe, particularly for older adults and people with other health issues. Wearing a face mask in public helps protect the health of your community — including the health of your own family members and friends as it may keep you from unknowingly and unintentionally spreading the virus to others.

Of course, face coverings should not be placed on children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without help. Wearing a face mask is also not a replacement for social distancing or other preventive measures. You should continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands and stay home if you are ill. 

As leaders of the health community here in South Carolina, the South Carolina Medical Association, the South Carolina Hospital Association and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina all strongly encourage you to do your part in slowing the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a face mask in public.

We pledge to do our part, too. In the coming weeks, you’ll hear and see more from us as we work together to call attention to the role we all can play in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in South Carolina.

Stay well.