Phoebe CEO responds to mask debate, citing recent CDC research

Phoebe CEO responds to mask debate, citing recent CDC research

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - As hospitals with the Phoebe Putney Health System see more COVID-19 patient admissions, the system’s chief executive officer said recent research shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows masks work at helping prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The study from the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released July 14 involved two hairstylists who had COVID-19 but apparently did not give it to their clients.

"In our facilities, it doesn't matter who you are and why you're here," Phoebe CEO Scott Steiner explained. "You've got to wear a mask."

Phoebe CEO Scott Steiner spoke to WALB via video chat.
Phoebe CEO Scott Steiner spoke to WALB via video chat. (Source: WALB)

Steiner said Phoebe mandated masks from the beginning of the pandemic, which he says is a sign that doctors believe they work.

"It's expected of me. It's expected of everyone," he explained. "It keeps me safe. It keeps you safe."

As the nationwide debate about masks continues, Steiner cited the recent hairstylist study out of Missouri.

According to the CDC, two hairstylists who tested positive for COVID-19 saw clients for several days after they had symptoms.

Both hairdressers wore masks.

The researchers determined that more than 98 percent of their clients during that time wore masks as well.

None of the clients that the researchers interviewed developed COVID-19 symptoms.

Almost 50 percent of the clients volunteered to be tested.

They all tested negative.

“Their conclusion was, if we all wore masks, religiously, you know, and correctly, that we could bring this virus to its knees in four to six weeks,” Steiner said. “The CDC, we believe are the experts. We rely on them for so much data or information for best practices.”

Steiner said we should all make decisions, like wearing a mask when you can't socially distance in public, wash your hands frequently and socially distance, to provide for a better future.

“If we could all do that, just think: by September, this could be really gone or really have been subsided,” he said.

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