Stephen Hawkins, MD, family medicine physician at TCMH, wrote a message to the community regarding the surge in COVID cases in the area:

To mask or not to mask should not be a question. Sorry to so poorly plagiarize William Shakespeare; however, several people in our community seem to have the mistaken idea that masks are not needed. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This pandemic has now affected more than 800 people in our community and six of those people have died. If you and the people around you will wear a cloth or paper mask, you can help protect each other. Only an N95 mask will help protect “you” from others who are not wearing a mask.

With COVID-19 cases, hospital admissions and deaths rapidly rising in our county, it is imperative that we all social distance and wear a mask.

I have had the pleasure of being a physician in Cabool for more than three decades, but unfortunately, this is one of the strangest diseases that I have ever seen.

I have had previously healthy 60-year old patients die, and I have had hospitalized 90-year old patients get better and go home within 24-hours.

There does appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Recently two drug manufacturers have come out with COVID-19 vaccines, each of which were more than 90 percent effective on more than 40,000 volunteers.

So until the pandemic runs its course or everyone has been vaccinated, please be courteous to others. Wear a mask and practice social distancing, especially when indoors.

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