Fort Worth

Face Masks With Valves Deemed Ineffective

Cook Children's says they'll no longer allow them in their hospitals or clinics

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As face mask requirements grow more common around North Texas, new guidelines could mean more restrictions on what type of face coverings are acceptable.

Tuesday Cook Children’s announced it was revising its mask policy to restrict the use of masks with valves.

The health care system has required patients, family members and staff at its clinic and hospitals to wear masks.

Now, anyone who comes to one of its locations wearing a mask with valves will be provided one without.

Dr. Hannah Chong explained it all comes down to the fact the valves used in masks are one-way.

“When the valve is there, that protection is removed from the other person,” said Dr. Chong.

That means the air is filtered for the wearer as they breathe in but not as they breathe out.

“So even though I’m protected almost 100% from viral particles, that other person is not protected from my exhaled breath,” said Dr. Chong.

Last week, the CDC released its own updated guidance saying it does not recommend masks with vents or valves saying in part:

“This can allow exhaled respiratory droplets to reach others and potentially spread the COVID-19 virus.”

It’s not the only face covering to recently get low marks.

This week, researchers at Duke University released a study that used light to study the number of particles released while wearing different types of masks.

They determined that bandanas and neck gaiters do little to prevent spread, and in some cases, could make it worse.

Though Chong said she understands the ever-changing guidance could result in frustration for a community learning how to cope, she urged patience.

“I would just remind people that this is something new that none of us have ever had to live through in our lifetime. And we have really smart people doing a lot of research making sure we’re doing our due diligence so that we are staying up to date on things that are changing,” said Chong.

At the end of the day, she said it's all about protecting her patients and the community as a whole.


*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.


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