- By Deb Balzer
Mayo Clinic reinstates universal masking for the safety of patients, visitors and staff
Due to the continued spread of the delta variant, Mayo Clinic will again require all staff members, regardless of role and COVID-19 vaccination status, to wear masks in all Mayo Clinic buildings, effective Monday, Aug. 2. Patient and visitors are already required to universally mask, and Mayo has decided to extend universal masking of staff at all locations for the safety of staff, patients and visitors.
Mayo Clinic's decision aligns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's for indoor mask use for those who are vaccinated due to the continued spread of the highly contagious delta COVID-19 variant.
“The delta variant is more contagious than the previous strains that we've had in the U.S. But it's also causing more severe illness that is causing hospitalizations to increase and ICU admissions to increase. And we're looking at another wave of the pandemic. It's more contagious, and that's concerning. It's more serious, and that's concerning," says Dr. Melanie Swift, co-chair of Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution Work Group.
Mayo Clinic is seeing areas of high transmission in Arizona, Florida and Northwest Wisconsin, as well as Dodge and Waseca counties in Minnesota. The number of cases Mayo Clinic is seeing and the levels of community transmission in these areas have increased dramatically in recent weeks.
To lower the rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations ― and once again lift masking requirements ― it's crucial that all eligible children and adults are fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
Completing both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine offers greater than 80% protection against the delta variant of COVID-19. However, completing only one dose offers only 30% protection against the delta variant, according to Dr. Gregory Poland, infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. Therefore, all transmission mitigation efforts, such as masking and social distancing, need to be pursued.
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For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a nonpatient care area 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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