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COVID Working Group of Western New York Releases Consensus Statement on Mask Usage

Released: 11/12/2020 3:51:09 PM

A group of more than 20 healthcare and health-related organizations has released a statement today on the importance of mask wearing in healthcare settings, and on masks as an effective tool to control the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases. The statement includes:

  • The working group recommends that individuals wear face masks to protect the people around them.
  • All healthcare providers should wear masks at all times in all healthcare settings.
  • All patients and visitors entering any medical facility or office should wear a mask, unless there is a strong medical contraindication, or they are less than 2 years old.
  • The effectiveness of masks increases with the percentage of the population using them. To increase mask use, healthcare providers should NOT tell patients that masks are not important.
  • All providers should actively educate their patients on the effectiveness of masks and strongly encourage their use.
  • Individuals should wash their hands before putting on a mask. The mask should cover the nose, mouth, and chin, and should fit snugly to the side of the face.

Full statement

The ILI (Influenza-like Illness)/COVID-19 Working Group of Western New York is comprised of representatives from the following organizations:

Gale Burstein, MD, MPH
Erie County Department of Health


Richard A. Carlson, Jr., MD
Primary Care IPA


Richard Charles, MD
General Physician, PC


Joe Chow, MD
Immediate Care


Tyler Connine, MD
UB Emergency Medicine Residency


Tanvir Dara, MD
WellNow Urgent Care


Katie Dyson, MD
Community Pediatric Associates of WNY

Aimana ElBahtity, Esq.
Medical Society of Erie County


Kenneth Garbarino, MD
Family Choice of New York


Charlene Ludlow, RN, MHA
Erie County Medical Center


Mike Merrill, MD, MS, MBA
Independent Health


Katherine Mullin, MD
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center


Jamie Nadler, MD
Kaleida Health


Margaret Paroski, MD, MMM
Catholic Medical Partners

Sucharita Paul, MD, MPH
UBMD Emergency Medicine


John Sellick, DO, MS
VA Western New York Healthcare System


Kevin Shiley, MD
Catholic Health


Stephen Turkovich, MD
Oishei Children’s Hospital


Willie Underwood, MD, MSc, MPH
Buffalo Center for Health Equity


Richard Vienne, DO
Univera Healthcare


Joyce Zmuda, MD
Optimum Physician Alliance



The ILI/COVID Working Group of Western New York was formed in response to local variation in approach to the diagnosis and treatment of Influenza-Like-Illness and COVID-19 in the region. It is a collaborative effort of hospital systems, academic departments, independent practice associations, and insurers. The logos and signatures on this document represent the organizations’ support of this statement.

Legal Notice and Disclaimer: Please note that the information contained in these resources does not establish a standard of care, nor does it constitute legal or medical advice. These guidelines reflect the best available data at the time the information was prepared. The results of future studies may require revisions to the information in this guideline to reflect new data. This information is not intended to replace individual provider clinical judgment in the care of their patients. Neither this workgroup, or any contributor to this effort, makes any representations or warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided herein or to its use.