Mayo reinstitutes mask wearing for staff

Published 5:59 pm Tuesday, August 3, 2021

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Decision made as Delta variant continues spread

Mayo Clinic and its Health System sites are once again requiring staff members to mask up.

The announcement, made Monday, said the move was made in the wake of the continued spread of the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus. The move aligns with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control’s Recommendations for indoor mask use, regardless of if the person is vaccinated.

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“The delta variant is more contagious than the previous strains that we’ve had in the U.S. But it’s also causing more severe illness that is causing hospitalizations to increase and ICU admissions to increase. And we’re looking at another wave of the pandemic. It’s more contagious, and that’s concerning. It’s more serious, and that’s concerning,” said Dr. Melanie Swift, co-chair of Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution Work Group.

According to Mayo, patients and visitors are already required to universally mask.

Mayo Clinic is seeing areas of high transmission in Arizona, Florida and Northwest Wisconsin, as well as Dodge and Waseca counties in Minnesota. The number of cases Mayo Clinic is seeing and the levels of community transmission in these areas have increased dramatically in recent weeks.

Completing both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine offers greater than 80% protection against the delta variant of COVID-19. However, completing only one dose offers only 30% protection against the delta variant, according to Dr. Gregory Poland, infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group. Therefore, all transmission mitigation efforts, such as masking and social distancing, need to be pursued.