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Abstract

Purpose: Following the widespread transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), multiple business and schools drastically reduced face-to-face services. Additionally, many state and local governments enacted face mask mandates and other legislations aimed at decreasing the spread of the virus. Current research is being conducted to evaluate the epidemiology, recognition, treatment, and prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the disease associated with SARS-CoV-2. At the time of this study, there is no published research on the attitudes and usage of face masks or face coverings among certified occupational therapy professionals during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The purpose of this study is to describe the attitudes and usage of face masks or face coverings among occupational therapy professionals in the state of Texas during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: A total of 107 occupational therapy professionals (age= 42 ± 12, years of certified experience = 18 ± 11) opened the survey link and completed the instrument. Participants were sent an electronic survey via email that collected demographic information and assessed attitudes and usage of face masks or face coverings. Data was downloaded and analyzed using a commercially available statistics package. Results: The overwhelming majority of occupational therapy professionals in this study agreed on some level that the use of face masks to mitigate the transmission of SARS-CoV2 was strongly supported by the available evidence (Strongly Agree = 65.4%, Agree = 19.6%, Somewhat Agree = 5.6%). Most occupational therapy professionals also reported that their institutions currently had a mandate in place requiring face masks during patient encounters and coworker interactions (Patient Encounters = 94.4%, Coworker Interactions = 86.9%). Most occupational therapy professionals reported wearing face masks the majority of the time when entering public spaces. Occupational therapy professionals cited the influence of their personal use of face masks was for personal health, health of those in their household, and the health of their patients. Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest a majority of occupational therapy professionals in Texas are wearing face masks or face coverings, even when not actively involved in patient care or other aspects of their jobs. Future research should be conducted to assess the use of face masks among other allied health care professions

Author Bio(s)

S. Andrew Cage, M.Ed., LAT, ATC, is the Head Athletic Trainer and an Instructor of Health & Kinesiology at the University of Texas at Tyler in Tyler, TX. He is also a licensed and certified athletic trainer.

Diane Brown, PhD, OTR, is the MOT Program Director and a Clinical Associate Professor or Health & Kinesiology at the University of Texas at Tyler in Tyler, TX. She is also a fully credentialed occupational therapist.

Brandon Warner, M.Ed., LAT, ATC, is the Athletic Training Program Director and an Associate Professor at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ. Brandon is also a licensed and certified athletic trainer.

Diana M. Gallegos, MS, LAT, ATC, is the Assistant Athletic Trainer and an Adjunct Instructor in Health & Kinesiology at the University of Texas at Tyler in Tyler, TX. Diana is also a licensed and certified athletic trainer.

Heidi M. Cage, OTR, is an occupational therapist for Encompass Health in Tyler, TX. Heidi is also a fully credentialed occupational therapist.

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