Thursday, July 9, 2020 - 3:32pm

A large number of organizations in Dane County are collaborating to tell everyone about the importance of wearing masks through a social media campaign called #MaskUpMadison and #MaskUpDane.

Participants in the campaign will post photos and graphics with the relevant #MaskUp hashtag, including #MaskUpMadison, #MaskUpDane, or #MaskUpUW. People are encouraged to share why wearing masks is important to them and how they are making mask wearing a habit. Spanish speakers can use the hashtags #PonteLaMáscaraMadison, #PonteLaMáscaraDane, and #PonteLaMáscaraUW.

“Masks are an essential part of slowing the spread of COVID-19 because they prevent respiratory droplets from entering the air and infecting others,” said Dr. Nasia Safdar, medical director of infection control at UW Health. “Something as simple as a cloth mask can decrease the number of respiratory droplets that are released when people breathe, talk, cough and sneeze. And the more people who wear masks, the greater effect masks have on COVID-19 transmission rates.”

Free masks for community organizations are being distributed through Dane County Emergency Management. Community groups can go to the Dane County website to request masks. Individuals can buy masks at various local shops, national chains, or online, or find them for free through local community groups, such as Dane County Mask Makers. United Way of Dane County also distributed masks to the public today.

"Our community's greatest resource is our people, and United Way of Dane County is committed to the safety and well-being of all. In order to do this, we must take measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The more people wear masks, wash hands and practice safe social distancing, the better, because we can't tell who is infected," said United Way President & CEO Renee Moe. "In response to the new order about face coverings, we distributed disposable face coverings to anyone in the community earlier today and ran out within the first four hours. In the meantime, you can be added to our mask wait list by emailing us at communityengagement@uwdc.org or following us on social @unitedwaydaneco. We are here for you Dane County! #MaskUpMadison and #MaskUpDane," adds Renee Moe.

Many participating organizations identified the need to provide access to masks and culturally relevant information to all parts of Dane County. “We want to make sure everyone in our community has access to the masks and the knowledge that they need to keep themselves and their families healthy,” said Lisa Peyton-Caire, founder and CEO of the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness. “COVID-19 has hit Black and Latinx families harder than white families in large part because of long-existing and unresolved racial inequities and racism in Dane County. We want to see that gap shrink and see Black families thrive.”

“Local data shows that the Latinx community is being disproportionally impacted by COVID-19,” said Patricia Téllez-Girón MD, Co-Chair of the Latino Health Council and member of the Latino Consortium for Action. “And we know firsthand the reason why. Housing, jobs as essential/front line workers, economics, health care access and discrimination—there are so many barriers and systemic inequities for Latinx people that make it much more difficult to stay healthy during a pandemic. It’s important that we have access to linguistically and culturally appropriate education and enough access to masks so that we are able to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19. It’s also crucial that others understand the importance of wearing masks so that we can ALL go to work and go to businesses safely.”

Mask wearing is also supported by local businesses in Dane County. “Wearing a mask supports the small businesses in our community because it helps consumers feel confident in their experience and keeps consumers and employees healthy,” said Tim Metcalfe, owner of Metcalfe’s Market in Madison. “It takes all of us working together to help build consumer confidence, and help our local economy reopen as soon as possible.”

“We are grateful that so many partners are showing that mask wearing is normal, and can easily become a part of our daily lives,” added Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health Madison & Dane County. “Together, we can all slow the spread of COVID-19 and get back to our daily lives by wearing a mask.”

Partners participating in the campaign include:

  • Access Community Health Centers
  • Boys & Girls Club of Dane County
  • Centro Hispano
  • City of Madison
  • County of Dane
  • Destination Madison
  • Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness
  • Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin
  • J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.
  • Latino Consortium for Action
  • Latino Health Council
  • Metcalfe’s Market
  • Public Health Madison & Dane County
  • Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association
  • SSM Health
  • United Way of Dane County
  • UnityPoint Health -- Meriter
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • UW Health

Anyone can get involved in the campaign. Simply post a picture of yourself wearing a mask with the hashtag #MaskUpMadison, #MaskUpDane, #PonteLaMáscaraMadison, or #PonteLaMáscaraDane, or check out the social media graphics available at http://bit.ly/Mask-Up-Madison. People can learn more about how to wear masks on Public Health Madison & Dane County’s website.

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