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‘Infinite Freedom’ by Breezy Anderson, adorned in Hood River.

Klickitat Valley Health, Mid-Columbia Medical Center, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital and Skyline Health have a message for the local community: Wear a mask when you are out in public.

“When you wear a mask covering your nose and mouth, you are helping to contain the respiratory droplets that naturally occur when you breathe, talk, sneeze or cough,” said Jeanie Vieira, CEO of Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital said in a joint press release from the hospitals. “This is why your mask protects others, and their masks protect you.”

All four hospitals are requiring anyone entering their facilities to wear a mask covering the nose and mouth. The universal masking policy applies to all staff, patients and visitors, regardless of symptoms, and applies to the hospitals and any hospital-owned clinics. In addition to wearing the required masks within the healthcare facilities, the hospitals are imploring local residents to wear masks when they are out in public places — especially indoors.

“Wearing a mask is not a political statement,” said Leslie Hiebert, CEO of Klickitat Valley Health. “It’s about preventing the spread of the virus within our community. The state is slowly and cautiously reopening, but the novel coronavirus remains a threat. We all need to remain vigilant.”

“You may believe you’re healthy enough to naturally fight off the virus, but wearing a mask helps protect your family, neighbors and fellow citizens who may be living with illnesses, going through chemotherapy or any other condition putting them at high risk,” said Robb Kimmes, CEO of Skyline Health. “We all need to do our part.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Infection, transmission between humans is the main way the virus spreads.

“Wearing a mask and staying six feet apart from people outside of your household is the best way to avoid the virus,” said Dennis Knox, CEO of Mid-Columbia Medical Center. “And continue to wash your hands regularly. Together, we will keep our communities healthy and safe.”

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