Ellen Rice Amalfitano, RN, BSW, MPH, Ph.D., vice president safety and reliability at Bon Secours has been leading our ministry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In her experience, Ellen shares that there have been many changes in the course of this pandemic over the last couple of months.
“There are now lots of cases in our South Carolina hospitals,” Ellen says. “This was not the case earlier in the spring.”
The changes Ellen has seen are not just related to case numbers. She has also seen changes in the way the medical community approaches this virus as new information becomes available. This includes the Centers of Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) announcement at the beginning of April encouraging the general population to start wearing face coverings while out in public.
“In the medical community, haven’t heard of anyone disagreeing with the importance of wearing face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” says Ellen. “Face masks have been shown time and time again to reduce transmission of viruses from patients to health care workers.”
There are currently many differing opinions in our country when it comes to face masks. While clinical evidence supports the importance of wearing them, Ellen believes she understands why some individuals are struggling to embrace this critical preventative measure.
“There is no road map for COVID-19,” she says. “We have never experienced something like this in the health care or social settings in our generation. We are learning new things about this virus as we go along. Whenever there have been gaps in our knowledge, it has been an opportunity for people, especially via social media, to fill in these gaps with their own information.”
Clinical experts know that COVID-19 is transmitting mainly through respiratory droplets. Additionally, many people who have this virus are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. This means they are able to spread this virus to others even if they are not feeling sick. Wearing a face mask right now not only helps keep you safe, it keeps those around you safe as well.
“My response to people not wanting to wear a face mask is if not for yourself, do it for others. This includes the people you love and the people you might not be aware are high risk. Do it so life can get back to normal and we can fully reopen the economy.”
Ellen acknowledges that this is a challenging time for everyone. Life is not normal, and we all desperately want it to be. However, this is a time for all of us to rise to the occasion and do what is best for our communities.
“This is our opportunity to be on the right side of history. This all comes down to each of us having the opportunity to do the right thing multiple times a day, and then actually doing it. This is the key tool in helping us end this pandemic,” she says.
We are in the middle of an important time in our country and communities. At this time, it is critical that everyone practice the following preventive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
- Wearing a face mask in public
- Practicing physical distancing
- Practicing proper hand hygiene throughout the day
Stay updated on what Bon Secours is doing related to COVID-19.