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Brian Floyd: Masks will help keep us safe from COVID-19

June 22, 2020 posted by Vidant Health News

Many of us here in eastern North Carolina know and love someone who has a chronic disease like hypertension or diabetes. These, and other chronic conditions, are all too prevalent in our communities, especially in older people.

As COVID-19 cases continue to escalate across the country it has become painfully obvious that our loved ones with chronic conditions, especially in older populations, are particularly vulnerable to this virus. Cases continue to increase in the state, in our region and here in our local community. The risk is the highest it has ever been and the virus is spreading. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we must continue to prioritize and protect the most vulnerable among us.

Wearing a mask in public is an important step in helping control the spread of COVID-19 and protecting our loved ones. We have all worked together in recent weeks to keep the curve flat by practicing social distancing, washing hands and avoiding large crowds. Now that our economy is reopening and we are seeing an increase in spread, we must continue to practice these safety measures and make them a priority. Masks are especially important when social distancing is not possible, when entering or exiting businesses and for employees who interact with customers. Masking allows us to open local businesses safely.

Masking and screening also has allowed Vidant to safely accommodate one healthy adult visitor in certain areas within hospitals and clinics for patients requiring support. Our expanded visitor restriction exceptions, which went into effect Friday at VMC and go into effet Tuesday at all other Vidant hospitals and clinics, are a result of our ability create a safe environment. We require masking for everyone in Vidant facilities and it has proven to be effective in preventing transmission.

Limiting visitation is one example of how this virus has upended our lives. It has been a very difficult and emotional concern and our ability to expand restrictions exceptions is directly linked to the ability to keep the spread from escalating.

These are unprecedented times and eastern North Carolina is resilient. Our success at keeping COVID-19 from spreading is dependent on our commitment to continue working together and taking simple steps to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the communities we care about.

Thank you for continuing to stand up for eastern North Carolina.

Brian Floyd, RN, MBA, is president of Vidant Medical Center. Learn how to make a cloth mask, how to take care of if and wear it properly at For information on visitor restrictions, visit

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