ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – As cases of COVID-19 surge across the country, the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center announced Tuesday it is changing its masking guidelines for both veterans and staff. The new guidance mandates everyone at the facility wear a medical-grade surgical, KN-95, or N-95 mask while on Center property.

The masking policy change restricts the use of cloth masks, including Gators, Neckerchiefs, and all cloth
masks without N95 or equivalent filtration, all of which were found to be inadequate for protecting the
wearer from COVID-19. Stratton VA says this is especially important as new variants emerge, and that it is scientifically proven a combination of vaccinations and mask-wearing are essential to hospital avoidance.

Making a data-driven argument, the Center said those who are vaccinated, on average, have experienced much milder symptoms and can recover much quicker from virus contraction than those who refuse the shot.

The updated masking policy is in effect at all Stratton VA properties, including the main facility in
Albany and Stratton VA’s Community Clinics. If a mask is found to be lacking, an acceptable mask
will be provided.