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Early mask policy cut rate of health workers acquiring COVID-19

covid hospital

The early implementation of a universal face mask policy at a Michigan medical center at the start of the pandemic resulted in a reduced risk to health care workers of acquiring COVID-19, according to a study released Friday by Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System.

Henry Ford researchers analyzed the impact of the non-profit health care provider’s universal mask policy that was put into place March 26, 2020, and required all staff — medical and non-medical — to receive and wear surgical or procedural masks on the premises while also following other personal protective equipment requirements.

The researchers found a correlation between the implementation of the mask mandate at Henry Ford and a significant drop in the rate of health care workers testing positive for COVID-19, according to the study, which was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

From March 12 through Aug. 10, 2020, about 20% of health care workers at Henry Ford were symptomatic for coronavirus and underwent testing. Prior to March 30, the odds of a health care worker testing positive for COVID-19 doubled every 4.5 to 7.5 days, but after March 30, the odds fell to every 10.5 to 13.5 days, the study found.

More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.