Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Prevalence and Acceptance of Face Mask Practice among Individuals Visiting Hospital during COVID-19 Pandemic: An Observational Study

Version 1 : Received: 7 May 2020 / Approved: 9 May 2020 / Online: 9 May 2020 (08:02:16 CEST)

How to cite: Gunasekaran, G.H.; Gunasekaran, S.S.S.; Gunasekaran, S.S.; Abdul Halim, F.H.B. Prevalence and Acceptance of Face Mask Practice among Individuals Visiting Hospital during COVID-19 Pandemic: An Observational Study. Preprints 2020, 2020050152 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202005.0152.v1). Gunasekaran, G.H.; Gunasekaran, S.S.S.; Gunasekaran, S.S.; Abdul Halim, F.H.B. Prevalence and Acceptance of Face Mask Practice among Individuals Visiting Hospital during COVID-19 Pandemic: An Observational Study. Preprints 2020, 2020050152 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202005.0152.v1).

Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 transmission has been established to occur through respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing. Health agencies have strongly recommended the use of facemask as a precaution from cross-transmission. Objective: This study investigated the prevalence of facemask use among visitors to the hospital. This study also investigated the demographic factors contributing to unacceptable facemask practice. Setting: This prospective observational study was done among hospital visitors to a district specialist hospital during COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Methods: Individuals entering through dedicated entry point were observed for the type, category and practice of wearing personal protective equipment. Inclusion criteria for this study were any individual's ≥ 2 years old entering the treatment facility from selected entry points. Patients were categorized into two groups of acceptable and unacceptable facemask practice. The Pearson chi-square was used to test for differences in investigated variables in the univariate setting and Binary Logistic regression model was used in the multivariate setting. Main Outcome Measure: Prevalence, acceptance practice and odds ratio of unacceptance of facemask use. Results: Among 1652 individuals included in the final analysis, 1574 (96.9%) was observed wearing facemask with 1269 (72.0%) of individuals worn medical-grade facemask. However, among them, only 1397 (88.8%) individuals' facemask practice was acceptable while the reaming 177 (11.2) individuals were perceived with unacceptable facemask practice. Male individuals, Malay ethnic and high risk age group are 1.47 times (Odds Ratio: OR=1.47; 95% CI, 1.06-2.06; p=.023), 2.18 times (OR=2.18; 95% CI, 1.55-3.08; p<.001) and 1.99 times (OR=2.18; 95% CI, 1.42 - 2.77; p<.001) more likely to exhibit unacceptable facemask practice respectively. Conclusion: Extensive use of facemasks coupled with environmental hygiene measures is a public health strategy which can help to mitigate the COVID-19 epidemic impact. However, a targeted comprehensive strategy to improve compliance to proper facemask practice among the high-risk population is needed to achieve maximal protective benefit.

Subject Areas

Covid-19; personal protective equipment; facemask; odds ratio; Malaysia

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