The local Emory Healthcare and Piedmont Healthcare systems are among more than 100 nationwide joining in a campaign to urge mask-wearing to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “Mask Up” campaign includes national TV and newspaper ads and the website

A promotional image for the “Mask Up” campaign on the website

The campaign comes amid rising national and local cases and concerns that Thanksgiving gatherings will spread the disease.

“The next several months will be critical,” said a press release about the campaign issued by Emory Healthcare. “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.”

The Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that mask-wearing can reduce the risk of both catching and spreading COVID-19. Other strategies remain important, according to the CDC, including maintaining social distancing, hand-washing and avoiding large and prolonged gatherings, especially those held indoors with poor ventilation.

The “Mask Up” campaign came from meetings among communications staff at various healthcare systems about sharing best practices, according to a press release.

Emory operates the Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Sandy Springs and a growing healthcare campus in Brookhaven, among other local facilities. Piedmont Healthcare’s flagship hospital, Piedmont Atlanta, is in Buckhead, and the system operates many other centers in the area.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.