As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise around the Southeast and the nation, state governments and healthcare officials are asking citizens to practice safe behaviors in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

“One of the most effective things we can do to stay healthy and reduce the spread of COVID-19 is to wear a mask,” said Steve Porter, CEO of Piedmont Fayette Hospital. “We know that wearing masks slows the spread of COVID-19, especially when combined with social distancing, hand washing, and frequent cleaning of high touch surfaces.” 

On Monday, June 29, Governor Brian Kemp renewed the public health state of emergency for Georgia, extending it to August 11, 2020. In his executive order empowering a healthy Georgia, the governor also encouraged all residents and visitors to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, and refrain from large gatherings where socially distancing from others is not possible. 

“As we head into a holiday weekend, it is important that everyone stays vigilant,” said Angela Swayne, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Piedmont Fayette. “COVID-19 can spread asymptomatically, or before a person shows symptoms, through respiratory droplets produced while coughing, sneezing, and even talking or singing. Those droplets travel through the air, which is why we urge staying at least six feet apart from others, as well as using masks or face coverings.”

Outdoor activities are recommended as respiratory particles disperse quickly and do not remain in the air for long. 

“Practicing these safe behaviors can help keep you, your friends and family, and your neighbors safe during a difficult time,” said Porter. “We can keep you safe in the hospital, but it’s up to you to keep you and your loved ones safe in the community.”