ROCHESTER, Minn. -- The scarcity of protective face masks has even Mayo Clinic scrambling.
Mayo Clinic issued new guidelines last week requiring all staff, patients and visitors to wear masks, when on the clinic campus. That means all employees, from cleaning staff to clinical workers, should wear masks. That can be challenging when one-time-use, medical-grade N95 masks are in short supply.
"Mayo has provided masks to all clinical staff and is actively developing plans for reprocessing equipment and other options to manufacture masks,” said Mayo Clinic spokesman Bob Nellis. "Stewardship of Mayo Clinic resources is vital. Conserving equipment and avoiding unnecessary personal protective equipment use are critical in supporting these efforts. We will provide masks to staff and those who don’t have them, but encourage support staff and visitors to bring their own."
In an effort to cover "support staff" workers, like cleaning and maintenance employees, Mayo Clinic has reached out to the community.
Mayo Clinic is working with the city of Rochester to collect donations of homemade cloth face masks.
Health officials stress that cloth masks are not a substitute for social distancing and do not offer filtration, but they can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others.
Mayo Clinic workers in clinical departments are being outfitted with medical-grade masks.
"... Radiology supplies us workers with masks and proper PPE to protect us," said Mayo employee Maggie Hendrickson. "I feel very safe there."
Businesses who wish to donate large quantities of new supplies such as masks, can contact Mayo supply chain at firstname.lastname@example.org, so the items can be vetted to ensure they meet requirements.