ROCHESTER, Minn. – Olmsted Medical Center (OMC) says it will ask employees, patients, visitors, and vendors to wear surgical masks in OMC buildings starting January 10.
The health care provider says a surgical mask offers a higher level of protection than single-layer cloth masks against contracting or spreading the COVID-19 virus, including the Omicron variant which appears to be more contagious than other variants.
OMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Randy Hemann says with more people in close quarters during winter months, turning to more effective masks will help keep everyone safe from coronavirus, as well as other infections that have seen an increase this year like flu and strep throat.
Surgical masks will be provided to patients and visitors going through the screening process.
OMC says if you do not have a surgical mask, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend wearing a mask that:
Has two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
Fits snuggly against the sides of your face so you don't have gaps
Has a nose wire to prevent air leaking out of the top
Does not have exhalation valves or vents since this allows virus particles to escape.