Atrium Health Joins Other Leading U.S. Hospitals in Encouraging Everyone to Mask Up

11.19.2020 Atrium Health News

Growing numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths troubling; facemasks can slow the trend

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Nov. 19, 2020 – One hundred of the nation’s top health care systems across the U.S., including Charlotte-based Atrium Health, have come together with an urgent plea for all Americans: mask up, because wearing a facemask is our best chance at slowing the surging COVID-19 pandemic now.

More than 11.5 million Americans have tested positive for the virus – including an additional one million in just the past week – leading to nearly 250,000 deaths. If the nation stays on its current course, hospital leaders are increasingly concerned that more healthcare facilities will be overwhelmed as shortages of healthy caregivers make it difficult to handle a rapidly increasing number of patients. Unfortunately, this is already happening in parts of our country.

The next several months will be critical. Though there has been positive news about vaccine development, no one knows when those vaccines will be ready for widespread use. In the meantime, it’s important that everyone remain vigilant, take precautions and follow public health orders.

Beginning today, a public service message will run in The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times. The message reads:

“As the top nationally-ranked hospitals, we know it’s tough that we all need to do our part and keep wearing masks. But, here’s what we also know: The science has not changed. Masks slow the spread of COVID-19. So, please join us as we all embrace this simple ask: Wear. Care. Share with #MaskUp. Together, wearing is caring. And together, we are saving lives.”

Additionally, hospitals and health systems across the country will continue to unite to share these messages regionally.

In an effort to reach a broader audience, the public service effort will also include messages on digital platforms, social media, online information, links to vital health resources and more. Combining resources demonstrates that these health organizations are working together, will accomplish this today and will get through this together.

“Through our own Million Mask Initiative, Atrium Health and its public and private partners have been able to demonstrate how having more people wearing masks can make a significant difference in slowing the spread of the virus,” said Dr. David Callaway, chief of the Division of Operational and Disaster Medicine for Atrium Health and professor of Emergency Medicine at Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center. “Masks save lives. Period. We understand the science of how this virus spreads and, if everyone would commit to wearing a mask whenever they are outside their home or around others, the spread would slow and lives would be saved. Wearing a mask is an unselfish act of caring that protects you and the people around you.”

Atrium Health’s Million Mask Initiative has provided 1.8 million free masks to frontline workers and people in vulnerable and underserved communities.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points to recent studies that have shown facemasks successfully limit spread of the COVID-19 virus. Wearing facemasks protects the wearer against inhalation of harmful pathogens and particulates and helps prevent the wearer from spreading the virus if they are contagious, even without symptoms.

In addition to masking, the CDC suggests that everyone minimize the number of non-household contacts, maintain a physical distance of at least six feet, and limit the amount of time around others, especially while indoors and in poorly ventilated areas.

“As we head into the weeks ahead that are traditionally filled with holiday celebrations and extra errands to run, shopping for loved ones, it’s all the more important,” added Callaway. “Nobody wants to be sick, especially during the holidays. Just a minimum amount of inconvenience, with everyone masking up, will help families make sure they can be happy holidays for all.”

For further information about masking guidelines – how to choose a mask, how to properly wear a mask – visit the CDC website.

The following hospitals and health systems are helping to spread this message across the country.


Adventist Health

Allegheny Health Network

Atrium Health

Avera Health

Banner Health

Baptist Health Northeast Florida

Baylor Scott & White Health

Baystate Health

BJC HealthCare

Bon Secours Mercy Health

Boston Children's Hospital


Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Children's Hospital of Orange County

Children's National Hospital


Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

City of Hope

Cleveland Clinic

CommonSpirit Health

Community Health Systems

Cooper University Health Care

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health

Duke Health

Emory Healthcare


Hackensack Meridian Health

HCA Healthcare

Inspira Health

Intermountain Healthcare

Jefferson Health

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Kaiser Permanente

Keck Medicine of USC

LifePoint Health

Mass General Brigham

Mayo Clinic

MedStar Health

Memorial Hermann

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Memorial Care (Southern California)


Michigan Medicine

Mount Sinai Health System

National Jewish Health

Nationwide Children's Hospital

Nebraska Medicine

Nemours Children's Health System

New York-Presbyterian

Northwell Health

Northwestern Medicine

Norton Healthcare

Ochsner Health


Oregon Health & Science University

OSF HealthCare

OU Health


Penn Medicine

Penn State Health


Renown Health

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Rush University System for Health

RWJ Barnabas Health

Saint Luke's Health System (Kansas City, MO)

SCL Health

Scripps Health

Sharp HealthCare

Southwestern Health Resources

SSM Health

St. Elizabeth Healthcare

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

St. Luke's Hospital (St. Louis)

Stanford Health Care

Sutter Health

Temple Health

Texas Health Resources

The Christ Hospital Health Network

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


TriHealth (Cincinnati)

Trinity Health

UC Davis Health



UC San Diego Health

UChicago Medicine

UCI Health

UCLA Health

UCSF Health

UNC Health

University of California Health

University Hospitals (Cleveland)

University of Iowa Health Care

Virtua Health is a collaboration of 100 leading health systems representing thousands of hospitals across the U.S. joining together to create messages for the betterment of communities they serve. The impetus for this, and other public service campaigns to follow, came from a group of health care marketing and communications executives meeting for a decade and reengaged weekly since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The goal is to share knowledge and experience, best practices, strategies and resources- knowing they can accomplish more together. Founded and led by Rhoda Weiss, Ph.D., Los Angeles-based national health care leader and consultant, the expanded coalition is partnering with Cleveland Clinic Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Paul Matsen and his team for this effort. Additionally, hospitals and health systems on a regional basis continue to come together to send messages like these of prevention and safety, hope and healing, life and death, care and caring.

About Atrium Health

Atrium Health is a nationally recognized leader in shaping health outcomes through innovative research, education and compassionate patient care. Atrium Health is an integrated, nonprofit health system with more than 70,000 teammates serving patients at 42 hospitals and more than 1,500 care locations. It provides care under the Wake Forest Baptist Health name in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, region and Navicent Health in Georgia. Atrium Health is renowned for its top-ranked pediatric, cancer and heart care, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. A recognized leader in experiential medical education and groundbreaking research, Wake Forest School of Medicine is the academic core of the enterprise, including Wake Forest Innovations, which is advancing new medical technologies and biomedical discoveries. Atrium Health is also a leading-edge innovator in virtual care and mobile medicine, providing care close to home and in the home. Ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals for cancer treatment and in eight pediatric specialties, Atrium Health has also received the American Hospital Association’s Quest for Quality Prize and was the recipient of the 2020 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Health Equity Award for its efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in care. With a commitment to every community it serves, Atrium Health seeks to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing – for all, providing more than $2 billion per year in free and uncompensated care and other community benefits.