SANDY, Utah — Mayors from Salt Lake County, business and healthcare leaders, local athletes and even mascots from some of Utah's sports organizations came together Wednesday to urge Utahns to continue wearing masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.
"The time for us to act is now. We have to course-correct immediately if we want to be able to maintain the care of our patients," said Dr. Edward A. Stenehjem, Intermountain Healthcare, during a news conference Wednesday at Rio Tinto Stadium. “The science is clear, this is not open for discussion, masks reduce transmission, it’s that easy, masks provide a safer community and that’s why we’re all here today to support that message.”
The event was part of the #MaskUpUtah awareness campaign in which the Utah Hospital Association and Utah's four largest healthcare providers are cooperating to encourage the use of masks in public settings.
According to Stenehjem, Intermountain Healthcare hospitals in Utah and Idaho had 70 COVID-19 patients four weeks ago. As of this week, that number has more than doubled to 180.
Hospitals can treat all of those patients now, but, if the daily case count continues on its current trajectory, hospitals will become overwhelmed and physicians may have to make agonizing decisions about who potentially receives quality care and who does not.
People who post pictures and use the #MaskUpUtah hashtag on social media are eligible to win weekly prizes from Real Salt Lake.