Dr Kelly: Governor DeSantis says masks are no longer needed in Florida. Why are you still wearing a mask in the office?

Good question. A number of patients have asked me this. While it is true the governor thinks masks are unnecessary, and the CDC Mask Guidelines were recently relaxed for the general public, the CDC still requires mask wearing in doctors’ offices and hospitals.

Certainly, anywhere you might encounter a sick person, it makes sense that everyone should be wearing a mask. In addition, doctors’ offices and hospitals are places where there are other patients who may be immunocompromised. We need to do whatever we can to protect those patients from COVID.

In my office, we continue to require masks and do temperature checks on all patients. This is despite the fact that most cosmetic surgery patients are extremely healthy and many of my patients are vaccinated. So why do my staff and I continue to wear masks?

First, I have some patients who refuse to get vaccinated. They are potential COVID spreaders. As we know, you can be infected before you develop symptoms, so we have to protect ourselves and the other patients from those who refuse to get the vaccine.

Second, it is also important to remember that vaccinated people can still get COVID. Even the best vaccines only provide 95% protection. So, 5 out of 100 vaccinated people could still get the virus when exposed to someone with the virus.

Third, surgery causes a transient decrease in the patient’s immune system. Post-op patients are much more at risk for infection in the first weeks after surgery. So, we need to do everything possible to protect them from any infection, including COVID

Finally, I work in very close proximity to my patients. When I do a filler, the patient, by necessity, has to remove their mask while the procedure is done in a very small exam room. Thus, my staff and I must wear a mask during those procedures.

While Gov. DeSantis may believe that masks are no longer necessary, that is only true for certain situations. Certainly, in my office, that is not the case. The CDC guidelines for doctors offices and hospitals are different for a reason. Patient care always comes first and we continue to wear masks for the safety of both patients and staff.

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