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Bryan takes flak for promoting use of masks
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Bryan takes flak for promoting use of masks

From the Milestones in Nebraska's coronavirus fight series
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This graphic from Bryan Health shows how masks decrease the likelihood of spreading COVID-19.

Bryan Health officials have been imploring people for several weeks to wear masks to protect themselves and others. They also have required staff and all visitors to wear masks at their hospitals.

That apparently has not sat well with some people.

Bob Ravenscroft, Bryan's vice president of advancement, said Wednesday that the health system has experienced some "pretty pointed" criticism, mostly on social media but also from some visitors to its hospitals, that its stance on masks is politically motivated.

“This is not a partisan issue to us,” he said. “It’s a public safety issue.”

Federal officials have recommended that people cover their nose and mouth in public when other measures, such as practicing social distancing of at least 6 feet, aren't possible. But the issue has become increasingly politically charged, with President Donald Trump refusing to wear a mask and polls finding that conservative Americans are more likely to forgo them as well, The Associated Press reported.

Nebraska doctors say it's too early to reopen

Ravenscroft said doctors and other health professionals at the hospital believe politics has nothing to do with preventative measures such as wearing masks, washing hands and practicing social distancing.

Ravenscroft said wearing a mask is not a political issue but rather a practical one that will give local residents "a better chance to get schools back to normal, go to the gathering places, the concerts, the sporting events, all of the things that we once all enjoyed doing freely.”

Republican governors in North Dakota and Ohio have made public statements in recent weeks, calling on residents to avoid “mask shaming” people wearing protective gear.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said people with masks deserve “support and encouragement” since they may be protecting someone vulnerable to the virus, The Associated Press reported.

Wearing masks, taking other precautions vital as Lincoln begins to reopen, Bryan officials say
Bryan scheduled to resume in-patient elective surgeries in June

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


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Business reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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