Green Bay, Wis. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend the practice of universal masking when in public and interacting with others. Universal masking, in addition to the practices of physical distancing and proper hygiene, helps to curb the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
 
HSHS St. Vincent, St. Mary’s, St. Nicholas and St. Clare Memorial Hospitals, in partnership with Prevea Health, offer the following answers to some of the most frequently-asked-questions about universal masking.
 
What does “universal masking” mean?
It means that everyone (if able) should wear a mask. There are some exceptions, including children under the age of two, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
 
What type of mask should I wear?
Medical-grade masks, such as surgical masks or N-95s, should be reserved for medical personnel only during this critical time. Therefore, the CDC recommends cloth masks for community members. There are tutorials for making masks with and without a sewing a machine, here. Some tutorials call for the use of common items, such as t-shirts and bandanas, with no sewing required. 
 
When should I wear a cloth mask?
You should wear your cloth mask if you must leave your home for any public setting such as a grocery store, gas station, pharmacy or other essential business. You should also wear it if you are interacting with anyone outside your home for any reason.
 
Will wearing a cloth mask prevent me from contracting COVID-19?
Wearing a cloth mask is not guaranteed to prevent you from contracting COVID-19, and it is important physical distancing (stay at least 6 feet from others) is still practiced while wearing one.
 
If wearing a cloth mask will not guarantee me full protection from COVID-19, then why is it important I wear one?
Studies show a significant portion of individuals infected with COVID-19 do not show symptoms, and that even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus before showing symptoms. Wearing a cloth mask can help to keep your respiratory secretions (where the virus can live) contained and prevent them from spreading to others.  A mask can also prevent you from touching your nose and mouth, where the virus can easily be spread.
 
Should cloth masks be washed or cleaned?
Yes. They should be routinely washed in a washing machine, or with soap and water, depending on frequency of use.
 
How does one safely remove a used cloth mask?
Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth when removing their mask, and wash hands immediately after removing.
 
A new episode of Prevea Health’s podcast, Plug in to Health, is dedicated to helping listeners better understand universal masking.  COVID-19: Understanding Universal Masking is available now on Plug in to Health, which can be accessed on all major podcasting platforms, including Apple and Spotify, as well as at: www.prevea.com/podcast.
 
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About HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center
HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center have been delivering quality health care to Green Bay and its surrounding communities since 1888. With HSHS St. Vincent being the largest tertiary care hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s location on Green Bay’s west side, patients from Northeastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan benefit from a comprehensive range of services that include cancer care, women’s services, emergency and trauma care, preventive care across the lifespan, digestive health, orthopedic, cardiac care, neurosciences, rehabilitation and pediatrics. Affiliates of Hospital Sisters Health System, the hospitals primary purpose is to continue Christ’s healing love through the delivery of competent and compassionate health care in an environment sensitive to the needs of all people. Both hospitals are accredited by the Joint Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
 
About HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital
HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital has been delivering high quality health care to Sheboygan and its surrounding communities since 1890. HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital provides a comprehensive range of services that include cancer care, women’s services, 24-hour emergency care, digestive health, orthopedics, cardiac, home health and hospice care. The hospital’s primary purpose is to continue Christ’s healing love through the delivery of high quality and compassionate health care in an environment sensitive to the needs of all people. HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.  An affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System, we draw on the history of St. Francis of Assisi as we move to continue serving the health care needs of our area in Christ’s healing ministry, caring for all people. To learn more, visit www.stnicholashospital.org.
 
About HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital
HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital serves Oconto Falls and the surrounding communities as a federally-designated critical access hospital with a 24-hour emergency department, urgent care, general, vascular and orthopedic surgical services, inpatient and outpatient surgical and diagnostic services, rehabilitation, oncology outpatient clinic and women’s care. HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital, in affiliation with Prevea Health, has six regional health center locations in Gillett, Lena, Mountain, Oconto, Oconto Falls and Suring. HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital Pharmacies are located in Gillett and Oconto Falls. Founded in 1921 as Community Memorial Hospital, in 2014, HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital became the fourteenth hospital in Hospital Sisters Health System. As an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System, we draw on the history of St. Francis of Assisi as we move to continue serving the health care needs of our area in Christ’s healing ministry, caring for all people. For more information about St. Clare, visit www.stclarememorial.org.
 
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality, Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our 15 Local Systems and physician practices in Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan, and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org.  For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit www.hospitalsisters.org.
 
About Prevea Health
Founded in Green Bay, Wis. in 1996, Prevea Health is a health care organization that provides high-quality, primary and specialty health care in 80+ locations across Northern, Eastern and Western Wisconsin in clinic and hospital settings. It is partnered with six Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) hospitals across Wisconsin to provide patients a system of highly-coordinated care, close to home: HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center in Green Bay; HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan; HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls; HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire; and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls. For more information, visit www.prevea.com.

Media Contact

Angela Deja

Public Relations Manager
HSHS Wisconsin
Office: (920) 272-3360
angela.deja@hshs.org

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