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, 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.
In addition to COVID-19 vaccination, boosters, and physical distancing; consistent masking with an appropriate mask provides protection against COVID-19, including the omicron variant.