To Mask or Not to Mask
By Jackson County Judge Jill Sklar Over the last few days I have gotten a lot of questions over shutdowns and face masks. I would like to give you my thoughts.
The last shutdown was bad for our community and another one would be terrible. Shutting down the economy is not the answer, but neither is ignoring what we know has worked in the response to COVID-19.
How do we avoid a shut down? By keeping hospitalization rates down and slowing down the infection rate. We are currently seeing an increase in hospitalizations both statewide and in the Golden Crescent Region. Do we need to be panic? No, we have space right now, but if we continue on this same trend, we will have some serious concerns by the end of July. The good news is the death rate is down, but many patients are still needing a hospital bed in order to survive and we need to make sure that there is a place for not only them to be treated, but also our loved ones who may need medical attention in an emergency situation.
Since March we have heard so much conflicting information regarding COVID-19. Enough to make all of our heads spin. But what we know for sure is that the curve was flattened when we were avoiding crowds and social distancing.
We cannot blame the uptick on more testing because statewide the positivity rate has increased to more than 11 percent. I’ve heard from constituents wanting to blame the state for opening too fast, Memorial Day weekend, people protesting, and the millennials at the beach. I think all are contributing factors, as well as large get-togethers with friends and family, of which I myself am guilty. We need to listen to the medical experts and use a little bit of common sense to move forward.
Do mask’s work? Not 100 percent, but we aren’t looking for perfection. We are looking for ways to supplement hand-washing and social distancing which is not always available when you are out in the community. The virus escapes through the nose and mouth. By covering your nose and mouth (after all, haven’t we always told our kids to cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze and don’t medical professionals wear them day in and day out to keep their patient’s safe), is the best way to keep the virus out of the air and away from the person that is less than six feet from you. If you think you don’t need to wear a mask because you aren’t contagious, think again, I hear, more often than not, that the COVID patient didn’t even know they were positive and contagious.
One of the best things about Jackson County is that we always have our neighbor’s back. No matter what is going on, we rise to the occasion and do what is right for each other. We don’t have to be told. Our business and hospitals need to be open and operating normally.
I am not a sheep and I do not think the mask should be a status of your political beliefs.
It is simple, be considerate to the business and protect that older consumer that is browsing the shelves beside you. If you are wearing a face covering there is less of a chance that COVID will spread, less of a chance that the older consumer will contact the virus, less of a chance they will need a hospital bed, and less of a chance of them dying.
I am not mandating, but I am asking you to put on a mask when you are in the community.
Stay Calm, Stay Healthy, and Stay Away from each other.