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Knoxville health care organizations said they support mask mandate

In a release, four Knoxville healthcare organizations said that they support the Knox County Board of Health's decision.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — After the Knox County Board of Health decided to mandate masks inside of public areas, four Knoxville healthcare organizations said Thursday that they supported the decision.

The statement was from Covenant Health, East Tennessee Children's Hospital, Tennova Healthcare and the University of Tennessee Medical Center. They said they agreed with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization to wear masks.

They said that masks can help limit the spread of COVID-19. The statement also said that people should practice social distancing and thoroughly wash their hands to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The full statement from the healthcare organizations can be read below: 

We support the decision made by the Knox County Board of Health regarding the required wearing of masks in public places where social distancing is difficult. We agree with ongoing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization which says that wearing a mask can limit the spread of COVID-19. However, wearing a mask alone is not sufficient to provide protection and should be combined with measures such as physical distancing and hand hygiene.

RELATED: 'It's really simple, wear a mask' | Knox Co. Board of Health votes to make masks mandatory in indoor public spaces

On Wednesday, the Knox County Board of Health voted to require people to wear masks inside of public areas starting July 3. The new policy does not apply to people who are outside, at a place of worship or if people who are eating or drinking at a restaurant.

It also does not apply if someone has a medical condition prohibiting them from wearing a mask. 

The Knox County Sheriff also responded to the mask mandate, questioning its constitutionality and saying that the department would rely on people to protect themselves and others however they find appropriate.

RELATED: Knox County mandates masks in indoor public spaces starting July 3

RELATED: Gov. Lee exploring local mask mandate options as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations rise to new highs

RELATED: East Tennessee COVID-19 hospitalizations accelerate