Review: Universal masking in hospitals in the COVID-19 era: i]Is it time to consider shielding?
This piece discusses why many institutions have enacted a universal masking policy in healthcare settings and important considerations and options for facilities considering such a policy.
Due to concerns about atypical presentations and pre-symptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV-2, many health care institutions and hospitals have adopted a universal masking policy that requires all personnel to wear surgical masks.
The authors note that an adequate supply of masks is a prerequisite for implementing a universal masking policy. Additionally, this policy should be implemented at the same time as visitor restrictions and employee screening for fever and other symptoms of a respiratory illness at their point of entry into the hospital. The authors warn against a false sense of security with a universal masking policy and also consider universal face shielding as a potential solution in a time of critical mask shortages.
About the Author: Seema Mohapatra
Seema Mohapatra is an Associate Professor of Law and Dean's Fellow
at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, She teaches Introduction to Health Care Law and Policy, Genetics and the Law, Torts, and Bioethics and the Law. Seema Mohapatra is an expert in the areas of health care law, public health law, bioethics, torts, and international health and family law. Her research interests include the intersection of biosciences and the law, assisted reproduction and surrogacy, international family and health law, health care disparities in the United States, and informed consent. Her work has been published in several journals, including the Wake Forest Law Review, Colorado Law Review, Brooklyn Law Review, and the Harvard Journal of Law & Policy. Professor Mohapatra currently teaches Torts, Introduction to Health Care Law, Bioethics, and Genetics and the Law. She has authored articles and book chapters on topics such as insurance coverage of infertility and assisted reproduction, genetics and health privacy, international surrogacy laws, and equity in healthcare coverage. Professor Mohapatra regularly presents her research nationally and internationally at legal and medical conferences and symposia. Prior to teaching, Professor Mohapatra practiced health law in Chicago at Sidley & Austin and Foley & Lardner. She earned a J.D. degree from Northwestern University School of Law and has a master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from Yale University. She earned a bachelor of arts in Natural Sciences (with a minor in Women's Studies) from Johns Hopkins University.