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LVHN male caregivers shave for fight against COVID-19

Why are Lehigh Valley Health Network male caregivers being asked to shave their facial hair?

Some facial hairstyles compromise the effectiveness of the N-95 face mask, preventing a tight seal around the face. An N-95 respirator and surgical mask are examples of personal protective equipment that are used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face and are a critical piece of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Facial hair is popular right now,” said Dr. Thomas Whalen, LVHN’s senior vice president and chief medical officer. “LVHN is asking colleagues on the front line who do not require an accommodation for a sincerely held religious belief to shave their facial hair.”

Whalen, who shaved his beard as a show of support, says we are all in this together and is urging other men in the community to join in and shave to support those doing their part to keep the community healthy and safe.

LVHN is asking the community to join in and to post their before/after photos on social media and use the hashtag #ShaveAgainstCOVID.

Lehigh Valley Health Network includes eight hospital campuses, three in Allentown, one in Bethlehem, one in East Stroudsburg, one in Hazleton and two in Pottsville; Coordinated Health, which includes two hospital campuses, nearly two dozen multispecialty locations including ambulatory surgery centers and orthopedic injury centers in northeastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey; 26 health centers; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices; 20 ExpressCARE locations including the Children’s ExpressCARE; pharmacy, imaging, home health, rehabilitation and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred.