One local hospital announced on Tuesday that, starting Wednesday, it would not allow individuals in its facilities without an N95 mask, which offers much more protection than a cloth mask.

Considering it also announced it will provide N95’s to those who don’t have one, King’s Daughters Medical Center made the correct decision here.

People like to laugh at the CDC (Center of Disease Control and Prevention) and its ever-changing guidelines, but these are just the results of the daily learning process that goes with the latest studies surrounding COVID-19 — and the Omicron variant, in particular.

The Omicron variant, studies show, is not as lethal as some previous widespread variants, such as Delta, but it spreads relentlessly.

Fortunately, the variant isn’t leading to lengthy hospital stays and ventilators as regularly, but it’s still dangerous — which is why it makes sense for KDMC to steer clear of cloth masks in favor of N95 and KN95.

According to the CDC, a person wearing a cloth mask within 6 feet of an unmasked infected individual can pick up the virus within 20 minutes. An N95-masked person within 6 feet of an unmasked infected individual can contract the virus within 2 1/2 hours.

Still, a cloth mask is obviously better than nothing. And, as we’ve written repeatedly, vaccinations and good hygiene are necessary as well.

It’s frustrating and exhausting to keep up with all the latest guidelines, but it’s also a must if we want to mitigate the spread of this virus and finally push past this pandemic.

Last week’s numbers in Boyd County alone are alarming — 854 new cases over a seven-day period. One might say, well it listed only one new COVID-positive death, but using the word only is extremely insensitive to the family of that person.

While this variant isn’t as deadly, it’s still serious. And it’s good to know KDMC is staying on top of the latest discoveries about this unpredictable virus.

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