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Published on July 02, 2020

Masks required because they save lives

Wearing a mask is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, both national and UHS health experts say.

A mask, combined with social distancing and washing your hands, can curb transmission of the disease and save lives.

Patients, visitors and staff entering any UHS facility are asked to wear a mask, for their own safety and that of other patients, guests and staff.

Accommodations are offered to those who can’t wear a mask for medical reasons.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State say that people should wear a mask when out in public.

“We ask and expect those who come to our hospitals and medical offices to comply, in the best interests of those we serve and for the safety of our own teams of caregivers,” said John M. Carrigg, president and chief executive officer of UHS.

Mr. Carrigg noted that wearing a mask is a sign of respect for others and their health.

“You wear a mask to protect others, and they wear masks to protect you,” he said.  “It shows mutual caring and respect for the well-being of other people.”

By wearing a mask, you do your individual part to help protect the whole population, health experts say.

The CDC notes that a mask works as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice.

UHS emphasizes the critical importance of masks, and why they are required when you visit a healthcare location, either as a patient, a visitor or a patient’s support person:

  • The CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around individuals outside of their own household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Masks help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.
  • Masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.
  • Masks should not be worn by children under the age of 2, by anyone who has trouble breathing, or by anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

For patients and visitors who medically can’t wear a mask, UHS offers alternative accommodations, such as face shields and virtual appointments from home.

“As the leading healthcare system in the region, UHS is also a protector of the health of our community,” Mr. Carrigg said.  “Right now masks are an important way of protecting our staff, our patients and the public at large.”

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