As Marathon Family Health Team (MFHT) continues to keep the safety of patients, staff and healthcare providers a top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new face mask policy was implemented on April 27, 2020.
Until further notice, all staff, healthcare providers, physicians, patients and visitors will be asked to wear a mask when they are inside the clinic. Masks will be worn at all times and should not be removed until leaving the facility.
What this means for patients and visitors
All patients and visitors will be asked to put on a cloth mask when entering the clinic. Patients and visitors who have cloth masks at home can choose to bring and wear their own mask.
As MFHT has a limited supply of cloth masks, patients and visitors who borrow a mask from the clinic will be asked to safely remove their mask and leave it in a container located near the door as they leave the facility. All masks will be properly laundered and reused.
What this means for clinic staff and healthcare providers
All staff and healthcare providers will be wearing medical or non-medical face masks, depending on the type of care they are providing patients. Healthcare providers will be required to wear medical masks when they are in close physical contact with a patient who has respiratory symptoms (e.g. coughing, sneezing) and when they are performing procedures (e.g. COVID-19 testing) that may increase their risk of being exposed to the patient’s droplets.
Non-medical or cloth masks will be worn by staff and healthcare providers in all other circumstances.
Purpose of the face mask policy
Viruses like COVID-19 are spread from person to person through small droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Wearing a face mask is one of the measures that can be used to help limit the spread of COVID-19 because when an infected person wears a mask, their droplets are less likely to land on another person or on surfaces around them.
In some areas of the clinic, physical distancing is not always possible (e.g. in small exam rooms and narrow hallways). Wearing masks may also offer additional protection in these circumstances.
By requiring all staff, healthcare providers, patients and visitors to wear masks, MFHT is limiting the spread of the virus in our facility and in the communities we serve.
Effectiveness of cloth masks
Wearing a non-medical mask, such as a homemade cloth mask, has not been proven to protect the person wearing it. However, wearing a non-medical mask may be helpful in protecting others around you. Essentially, wearing a mask allows individuals to keep their germs to themselves.
This may help explain why other organizations in our communities, such as the grocery store and pharmacy, are now requiring their employees to wear masks. By wearing masks, essential workers are preventing themselves from spreading their potentially infectious droplets to others. These measures are being put in place to help keep you safe when accessing these facilities.
Remember that wearing a non-medical mask is NOT a replacement for physical distancing, hand washing, and monitoring your health. Therefore, all public health recommendations should continue to be followed to limit the spread of the virus.
For more information, please visit the Marathon Family Health Team – Health Promotion Facebook page.