Face masks—Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions–Face masks

For staff: What type of mask you should wear and when
Updated on 02/08/2022 at 8:40 am
  • Medical face masks are required at all times for employees who directly or indirectly support patient care or patient care operations, no matter their vaccination status, except while alone in a private office or when eating/drinking. Employees will no longer be permitted to wear cloth face coverings of any kind, unless used in addition to a medical-grade mask.
  • If you work in an area that provides patient care, you should wear a mask from your unit or clinic, as these masks have been specially ordered and are intended for patient care (e.g., yellow medical-grade face masks or an N95 respirator).
    • Employees who provide care to patients with COVID-19 or those who are under investigation for COVID-19 (PUI) must wear an N95 respirator and eye protection. View additional safety and PPE guidelines here.
  • KN95s and the blue face masks found at many entrances and exits will be for our patients and visitors and for those employees who do not work in clinical areas.
    • Certain masks, like the blue masks and KN95 masks you may find across campus, were not intended for medical use, but still provide superior protection to cloth masks. These masks are safe and effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
  • UI Health Care patients and visitors continue to be required to wear a mask at all times. We will also be strongly encouraging visitors to wear medical face masks during their visit.

You should use a new medical mask each day.

How often should I change my medical mask?
Updated on 01/07/2022 at 3:58 pm

You should use a new medical mask each day.

What type of face mask should patients wear?
Updated on 01/07/2022 at 9:59 am

All patients and visitors who arrive at our facilities for care who do not have their own face mask will be provided with a medical-grade mask.

Patients unable to wear a face mask for medical reasons will be provided a face shield. Face masks should not be worn by children age two or younger.

Patients who have COVID-19 or are PUIs should wear medical-grade masks.

Click to download this image as a flyer.

Download a flyer illustrating mask requirements for patients and visitors.

You should use a new medical-grade mask each day.

A medical-grade mask (sometimes called a surgical mask) is a disposable mask, often found in blue and yellow colors. These masks are meant to protect the mask wearer from respiratory droplets and sprays that may contain germs. A medical-grade mask also filters out large particles in the air. These masks are available at each entrance/exit. A medical-grade mask should be changed daily.

Do I wash my hands before putting on a mask?

Yes, you should thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before putting on your mask.

Should I wash my hands after removing a mask?

Yes, you should thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after removing your mask.