PeaceHealth has joined 100 of the nation’s top health care systems, representing thousands of hospitals in communities coast to coast, in an urgent plea for all Americans to mask up, because wearing a mask is the best way to slow the surging COVID-19 pandemic.

The hospitals include Oregon providers Adventist Health, Kaiser Permanente, Mercy, Oregon Health & Science University and Providence.

Hospital leaders are increasingly concerned that more health care facilities will be overwhelmed as shortages of healthy health care workers make it difficult to care for a rapidly increasing number of patients. This has already happened in parts of the country.

The next several months will be critical, say PeaceHealth leaders. Though there has been positive news about vaccine development, no one knows when those vaccines will be ready for widespread use. In the meantime, everyone must remain vigilant, take precautions and follow public health orders.

For more information, visit peacehealth.org/wear-mask.