Gaston County Launches 'Gaston SAVES' Initiative
GASTONIA, N.C. – Gaston County announces today a major media and marketing campaign in an effort to increase compliance with wearing face coverings.
It is under the banner of Gaston SAVES, which stands for Safety, Awareness and Vital Emergency Support. The County will use this platform, and its accompanying website, GastonSaves.com, as a connection point for the community for information and resources on major events. To begin, Gaston SAVES will focus on COVID-19, with a #MaskTogetherGC campaign, set to run through the end of 2020.
The county is using a portion of federal CARES Act funding it received from the federal government to fund the Gaston SAVES initiative.
The need to launch the campaign before Labor Day weekend was key, given that public health official know that COVID-19 doesn’t take a holiday. Gaston County saw spikes in cases roughly 10-14 days following both Memorial Day and Independence Day.
“Every decision we make has an impact on us, our families, our coworkers and friends – but also on the whole community, our businesses and schools and our ability to manage this together,” Gaston County Public Health Director Steve Eaton said.
Gaston County has seen daily case counts and hospitalizations as a result of COVID-19 come down since highs in mid-July, but remain concerned that the percent of positives is remaining between 10 and 11 percent. The county is aiming to see that below 5 percent.
To ensure that cost or access does not play a role in citizens being able to wear face coverings, the county is providing packs of 5 to any person that needs them, beginning Friday, Sept. 4. The mask packs will be available for pickup at the county’s 7 currently open library branches, Monday through Friday, during curbside pickup hours between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Branch locations are available at GastonSaves.com.
“We do not want there to be any barriers for our citizens to get what experts say is a simple, but effective way of keeping each other safer,” County Manager Dr. Kim Eagle said.
Eagle also announced the County will be formalizing a task force with local health care partners to prepare for the flu season and the possible additional impacts that could have on the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. That task force has met informally on a regular basis since late February.