Right now everyone at Valley, including patients, staff and visitors, must wear a mask to decrease the spread of COVID-19. Masks with exhalation valves, while they might be more comfortable for the wearer, they do not protect others if you are a carrier for the virus (even if you don’t have symptoms). The Centers for Disease Control says respirators with exhalation valves do not keep droplets from your breath contained within the mask, as exhaled air exiting the valve is not filtered (See CDC’s FAQ on Personal Protective Equipment, under “Respirators”).
Please wear a mask when you come to Valley, but we are asking that you wear one WITHOUT an exhalation valve. If you arrive without the correct mask or with an N95 with an exhalation valve, we will supply you with a free face mask and request that it be worn over it to help decrease the spread of disease to others in the healthcare facility.
We are aware that there are some N95 and other filter masks that don't have exhalation valves as well as some masks with decorative (non-functioning) valves. However, we don't have staff available to inspect individual masks so we ask for your patience if you enter our facility with a mask that appears to have an exhalation valve, and a staff person asks you to please cover it with one of our cloth masks.
My mask protects you, your mask protects me!