Doctor at OLOL has strong words for those who continue to refuse to wear face mask

Top doc at OLOL has strong words for those who won't wear face mask

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The head doctor at Our Lady of the Lake has some strong words for those who refuse to wear a face mask despite repeated requests from government officials and health experts to do so.

The ICU at Our Lady of the Lake is still full and the medical staff running them are exhausted. 

Dr. Catherine O’Neal, the Chief Medical Officer at the Lake is tired too. She is tired of telling people the same thing over and over again for the last six months. 

“Masks are essential, they are the number one thing that is going to get us through the pandemic,” Dr. O’Neal said. “It’s about you and I don’t want to spread this virus to the community so I wear my mask.”

O’Neal has been asking residents simply to wear a cloth facial covering. She said the barrier will not necessarily protect the person wearing it, rather it will protect those around them by slowing down the particles coming from that person’s mouth that could potentially be infected with COVID-19. 

“That warm, hot air that comes out of our bodies is full of moisture and that that moisture has virus in it and so it leaves me and if i keep this mask on and it catches all those droplets they never make their way to you,” she said. 

Despite the science and the backing from the medical community, many have chosen not to wear the masks. 

Last weekend Firehouse BBQ in Watson had its food permit revoked by the Louisiana Department of Health after the owners refused to comply with the mask mandate and social distancing guidelines. 

In a Facebook post, the owners claimed employees were getting “migraines” and were not able to complete their work because of the masks, therefore they would not be required to wear them and neither would the customers. 

O’Neal said that is just an excuse though, and research does not support the claims that cloth masks hamper, in anyway, someone’s ability to breathe. 

“When you feel short of breath and you’re struggling to breathe, this may make you uncomfortable,” O’Neal said. “If you’re feeling short of breath, you need to seek your doctors attention because this is a pandemic we’re going through and if you feel short of breath, you need to be taking better care of yourself. You need to be seeing a doctor, get on the right medicine so you don’t feel short of breath daily.”

She said if you are struggling to breathe you likely have an underlying condition that will make you even more susceptible to the coronavirus and you should stay inside. 

“We haven’t seen a single person come in in respiratory distress or with low oxygen levels because they’ve been a compliant citizen for our community,” she said. 

According to the CDC, the only people who should not wear a mask are young children under the age two, people who have trouble breathing, and those who are unconscious. All others should wear one if they are around other people. 

“We have surgeons who have worn these masks for years and they have 12, 20 [and] 30 hour procedures where they never take the mask off for the protection of the patient in the OR table and our surgeons are very healthy, their mind is there and they can breathe quite well during the procedure,” O’Neal said. 

She said the worst thing about the masks is that they are uncomfortable but her rebuttal to that claim is “so is hospitalization and death.”

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