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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News)  -  Mayo Clinic Wednesday initiated a tightening of its current mask mandate at its sites.

Mayo is now requiring ”all patients and visitors to wear surgical/procedural masks.”

The move is being made “Due to the growing wave of infection from the omicron variant and the urgent need to strengthen all layers of protection against COVID-19."

According to the new policy, 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, including 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.

Mayo Clinic photo
Mayo Clinic photo
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Mayo says single-layer cloth masks, neck gaiters and bandanas do not provide optimal protection to help ensure the health and safety of all.

According to Mayo, 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.

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