Updated 12-30 for additional clarity
Due to the growing wave of infection from the omicron variant and the urgent need to strengthen all layers of protection against COVID-19, Mayo Clinic is asking all patients and visitors to wear surgical/procedural masks.
Several studies have demonstrated the variability in cloth mask performance. While a high-quality cloth mask may perform similarly to a medical-grade mask, patients and visitors use a wide range of face coverings, making standardization necessary. Single-layer cloth masks, neck gaiters and bandanas are commonly worn, for example, and do not provide optimal protection to help ensure the health and safety of all.
Patients and visitors will be offered a Mayo Clinic-provided surgical/procedural mask when they go through the screening process or when they check in. Patients with unacceptable masks, which are those with exhalation valves, gaiters, or bandanas, will be required to wear a medical grade mask (surgical/procedural, N-95 or KN-95), whether it is provided by Mayo Clinic or they provide it themselves.
Patients or visitors who are wearing non-medical grade masks other than those with exhalation valves, gaiters, or bandanas (such as cloth masks) will be offered a medical-grade mask. It will be asked, not required, that they wear the Mayo Clinic-provided mask instead of the cloth mask. Patients and visitors may choose to wear their surgical/procedural mask over a cloth mask if they prefer for reasons of comfort and fit, with the surgical mask on the outside.
For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.
Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date.
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