PORTSMOUTH — As COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Scioto County, Southern Ohio Medical Center has a straightforward message, “You need to wear masks.”
After one of the highest COVID-19 case count weekends in Scioto County, SOMC doctors, nurses and employees have come together to make a simple music video, reminding residents why it’s essential to wear a mask.
“Since March, we have been trying to promote wearing a mask in public and social distancing,” Community Relations for SOMC, Eric Kephas said. “We have been trying to find different ways to get that message across and parody writing has been something I have done since I was pretty young, so it was an idea that we came up with to do a parody of a song.”
The music video, which is a parody of pop singer Taylor swift’s, “You Need to Calm Down,” has been spreading throughout social media, trading “you need to calm down” for “you need to wear masks” and stating “it’s as simple as that.”
“One day, I just kind of took a shot at writing the lyric, and we had a company perform it and record it,” Kephas said. “Writing the song was honestly one of the easier parts of the process. Once I got started, it all started to flow.”
Throughout the video, employees of SOMC can be seen wearing their masks and dancing to the song that Kephas wrote. While Kephas does not have a background in music, he came up with perfectly fitting quirky lyrics, including “And that small cloth doesn’t cut your air off” and “Cause Facebook memes aren’t medical degrees.”
“It’s like a puzzle and some lyrics just fit so perfectly,” Kephas said. “There’s an old Bono quote that I like, ‘The good ones I can take credit for, but the really great ones feel like a gift.’”
Since the video’s release, Aug. 31, it has received more than 13,000 views, 448 shares and 260 reactions.
“The feedback we have heard has been overwhelmingly positive,” Kephas said.
While SOMC’s goal was to spread the message to everyone in the surrounding communities, Kephas said, the music video has gained a lot of traction from the younger generations. According to the music video’s Facebook analytics, it is has become very popular among the 24 to 35 age group.
“That is noticeably younger than the average Facebook fan for a hospital page,” Kephas said. “I think we have been successful with reaching an audience that we don’t normally reach and spreading the message.”
As the views continue to climb on Facebook, members of SOMC featured in the music video are gaining a little bit of fame.
“It was super fun. It was a good time,” Ashley Franz said. “It brought a bit of positivity and fun to such a scary time.”
Franz, a respiratory therapist for SOMC, said she has heard nothing but positive things from friends and family about the music video. She was happy they used someone in her position in the video.
“People were really excited to see SOMC employees in the video,” Franz said. “Especially respiratory therapists. They are kind of a big part in the whole COVID-19 pandemic.”
Franz hopes that the video will help the community realize the dangers of COVID-19 and encourage them to wear a mask and practice social distancing when out in public. She said everyone needs to do their part and wear a mask covering both their mouth and nose since they are both connected to the lungs.
“We all need to wear a mask not just for ourselves, but for everyone’s safety,” Franz said. “We are all in this and I hope the video brought a little bit of fun to this negative situation.”