CRYSTAL CITY, Mo. – Jefferson County continues to be a hot spot for COVID-19, with 212 new positive cases in the last two days.
Now, 16 doctors at Mercy Hospital Jefferson have issued a statement urging county residents to wear face masks whenever they are in public.
The wearing of face masks has been at the center a hot debate in the county. Last month, the Jefferson County Health Department’s board of trustees approved a mask mandate, only to revoke it a day later.
This week, two high school football teams went into quarantine for 14 days because eight players on the Herculaneum High School team tested positive for coronavirus.
Eric Ammons, president and CEO of Mercy Hospital Jefferson, joined the 16 physicians in issuing a statement strongly recommending that residents should wear a mask in public, especially when indoors. The doctors said they want to stay out of the politics of the issue but felt compelled to speak out before the county suffers a major outbreak.
“The problem is even if we have a few who don’t believe in this, the problem could be you could be spreading it and you may not be aware that you are spreading it,” said Dr. Kathik Iyer, Mercy Jefferson Hospital’s chief medical officer. “But until there is a vaccine and I understand all our greatest minds are working on it, and we will have one very soon, the best protection we have is mask. We felt compelled to just put this out to say that we are here for you and all we are saying is if you could do this it will only help the hospital and us take care of you better.”
The doctors also cautioned the public not to wait for the government to issue a mask mandate but instead to do the right thing and start wearing one when out in public.