Home Health News Hospital visitors should not wear masks with exhalation valves, St. Luke’s says – lehighvalleylive.com

Hospital visitors should not wear masks with exhalation valves, St. Luke’s says – lehighvalleylive.com

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St. Luke’s University Health Network on Saturday announced updated visitor guidelines to prohibit face masks with exhalation vents amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

“WE MASK FOR YOU,” the St. Luke’s visitor policies page says at slhn.org. “Please wear your mask for your entire visit.

“DO: Cover your mouth and nose.

“DON’T: Use masks with exhalation valves.

“Masks with valves allow exhaled air to be vented into the room, exposing everyone to that air. If you enter with one of these masks, we will provide you with a surgical mask to place over your mask.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, under personal protective equipment guidance for heath care workers, that “respirators with exhalation valves should not be used in situations where a sterile field must be maintained (e.g., during an invasive procedure in an operating or procedure room) because the exhalation valve may allow unfiltered exhaled air to escape into the sterile field.”

For the general public, the CDC says more simple “cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 that could reduce the spread of the disease, particularly when used universally within communities. There is increasing evidence that cloth face coverings help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 1,054 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, bringing the total confirmed case count to 106,625 with 7,114 known deaths.

New Jersey’s death toll from the coronavirus rose to 15,776 on Saturday, with 178,858 total cases in nearly five months.

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Kurt Bresswein may be reached at kbresswein@lehighvalleylive.com.

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