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By Racine Mayor Cory Mason and Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox

The City of Racine recently launched #StaySafeRacine, a new social media campaign to flatten the curve, slow the spread of COVID-19, and keep people safe, no matter where they are — at home or, cautiously, out and about.

The message is simple. Stay Safe. Save lives.

While we can’t be together physically, we wanted to find a way to virtually support one another and encourage our friends and neighbors to stay safe as we work together to flatten the curve. Every morning, public health officials meet to give updates on how COVID-19 is spreading through the community. We have NOT yet reached our peak in the City of Racine, and the number of confirmed cases continues to increase. It’s hard, but we have to double down on our efforts around staying home and social distancing. This campaign is designed to show our residents that we are all in this together.

Why and why now?

The Racine City Public Health Department recently reported the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the City has spiked into triple digits — 175 as of Tuesday morning. The City’s confirmed cases have now doubled in less than a week. Hispanic and African American residents alone now account for 63 percent of the infected. And the curve of the virus has not been flattened in the City or the state. The data suggests clearly that residents around the state need to continue their efforts to stay home and practice social distancing.

The #StaySafeRacine campaign includes a variety of tools for residents to share how they are staying safe and encourage other to do the same. The #StaySafeRacine toolkit is available to all at StaySafeRacine.org, and is equipped with, among other things:

● Examples of social media posts in English and Spanish;
● Key messages to be shared via social media in English and Spanish;
● Social media graphics in English and Spanish;
● 15-second and 30-second public service announcements in English and Spanish;
● “Stay Home Save Lives” icon artwork for graphic designers; and
● Digital billboards

The COVID-19 crisis is a fight we’re all in together and we need everyone’s help to share the #staysaferacine message! Your family and neighbors; your employer or your employees; your pastors, priests, and rabbis, and your parishioners are all needed to help spread the message.

#StaySafeRacine means that it is the responsibility of all Racine stakeholders —residents, business operators, and workers— to do their part to limit the spread of COVID-19 and minimize the impact on the most vulnerable in our communities.

So as part of #StaySafeRacine, the City of Racine asks everyone to show their support for stopping the spread of COVID-19 by visiting StaySafeRacine.org or the City’s Facebook page — taking the pledge to use the #StaySafeRacine hashtag, messages, and graphics on their social media pages, and encouraging
others to do the same.

The best practice is still to remain home whenever possible. But if you must venture out, please continue to follow the latest safety guidelines, including limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people, keeping a safe distance of at least six feet from others, wearing a face mask and other forms of personal protective equipment (including gloves), coughing into your elbows, frequently washing your hands, and avoiding touching your face when outside your home.

There is light at the end of this tunnel, and we’ll reach it faster if we do our part so that we slow the spread of COVID-19. Our responders and other essential workers, including our neighbors performing medical, food, and other important service work, are counting on us. They risk their lives every day by going to work so that we have our basic needs met. We owe it to them to do our part to help flatten the curve.

We truly are all in this together. Please do your part!

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In addition to our education features, we’ll be kicking off a series of stories highlighting how parents, students, and educators are adapting to the impact of COVID-19 on education. If this is important to you, please consider donating to our education reporting fund. https://business.facebook.com/donate/1846323118855149/3262802717172659/