SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News)- Utah’s four largest healthcare systems are coming together to encourage Utahns to “mask up.”

Leaders for Intermountain Healthcare, MountainStar Healthcare, Steward Healthcare, and University of Utah Health, are reminding Utahns that wearing a face mask can make a significant difference in helping to reduce transmission of the virus – and reduce a surge of COVID-19 patients who require hospital care. 

In recent days Utah has seen the highest cases ever since the start of the pandemic. On Monday State Epidemiologist Dr. Dunn warned state and local leaders that with the surge in new cases, the situation is “quickly getting to a point where the only viable option to manage spread and deaths will be a complete shutdown.”

Last week, Greg Bell, President and CEO of the Utah Hospital Association told ABC4 reporter Brittany Johnson “Things have worsened. We’ve seen a sustained uptick and the trend is not good.”

As a result, the initiative, #MaskUpUtah was created. The campaign was unveiled at a virtual press conference Tuesday.

“Utah’s hospitals currently have capacity to keep up with the needs of the communities they serve. However, as the number of coronavirus cases grow, it is imperative that Utahns work together to keep the case counts at a manageable level so all patient needs – COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 – can continue to be met,” health officials stated.

Current trends show a doubling in hospitalizations each week if the transmission rate is not reduced.

Healthcare leaders said current trends show a doubling in hospitalizations each week if the transmission rate is not reduced.

“Wearing a mask is one way all Utahns can help reduce transmission and keep these vital resources available to meet the healthcare needs for everyone across the state,” they said.

Currently, it isn’t a state requirement to wear a mask when out in public but it is strongly encouraged.

Don’t have a mask? The state has a goal to get ‘A Mask for every Utahn.’

Salt Lake County and City mayors Jenny Wilson and Erin Mendenhall called on Governor Herbert to make masks wearing a requirement. Many Utahns agree with them apparently. A petition calling on the Utah government to issue a mandatory face mask order has over 1,400 signatures.

“Frequent washing of hands, keeping a distance of 6’ from others and wearing a mask are basic hygiene steps that should continue to be done to stop the spread of COVID-19. While not trendy, these steps continue to be effective,” officials said.

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Watch the full press conference below: