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Feb. 19 - To the Salve Regina community: COVID-19 variants and mask guidance

Dear Salve Regina community,

In recent weeks, multiple COVID-19 variants have been circulating globally, with the UK, South African and Brazil strains of particular concern. These variants are more contagious than other strains and could lead to more cases of COVID-19, more stress on health care resources, and more hospitalizations and deaths.

The UK variant was recently identified in three Rhode Island patients, including two from Newport County.

As a result, we all need to remain vigilant and do what is absolutely necessary to keep Salve Regina open. Your rigorous and continued compliance with mitigation strategies such as social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing is essential to limiting the spread of the virus and protecting our community.

Limiting social gatherings is also critical to containing the spread. The social gathering limit in Rhode Island is currently two households for indoor gatherings and three households for outdoor gatherings. However, you should not be visiting multiple households over the course of a weekend. Identify a “social bubble” of two households (or three if you plan to gather outdoors) and do not socialize outside of that bubble.

Updated Mask Guidance

Masks work best when everyone wears them, but not all masks provide the same protection. When choosing a mask, look at how well it fits, how well it filters the air and how many layers it has.

Do: 

  • Make sure your mask fits snugly over your nose, mouth and chin. Gaps can allow respiratory droplets to leak in and out around the edges of the mask.
  • Choose a mask with layers. There are two ways to layer: Use a cloth mask with multiple layers of fabric or wear a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask. The outer mask should hold edges of the inner mask against your face.
  • Choose a mask with a nose wire, which prevents air from leaking out of the top of the mask. Bend the nose wire over your nose to fit close to your face.
  • If you choose a three-ply disposable mask, knot and tuck the ear loops where they join the edge of the mask for a tighter fit. For video instructions, see youtu.be/UANi8Cc71A0.

Do not: 

  • Combine two disposable masks. Disposable masks are not designed to fit tightly and wearing more than one will not improve fit.
  • Combine a KN95 mask with any other mask. Only use one KN95 mask at a time.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we navigate the complexities of this ever-changing pandemic. In keeping with our mercy tradition, let’s continue to work hard and take care of our community. Together, we can stay healthy and safe.