The Western NSW Local Health District is waiting on a "much bigger supply" of face masks after mandating their use by everyone entering Dubbo Hospital, its fellow hospitals in Orange and Bathurst, and multi-purpose services across the region.
It will provide masks for staff and patients to help protect them from COVID-19, as well as visitors if they turn up without them.
"We do have masks available if ..people don't have access to one or haven't been able to get to a pharmacy or somewhere in time," Dubbo-based chief executive Scott McLachlan said.
But he would prefer if visitors got their own masks.
"We do have a supply at the moment to get us through this week and a much bigger supply coming in next week, so we're confident we can manage the mask numbers for our staff and our patients," Mr McLachlan said.
"We are asking visitors to bring their own masks if possible."
The health district has given single-use masks, commonly called surgical masks, and reusable cloth masks the thumbs up, provided they are worn correctly.
"Properly-constructed reusable cloth masks are made from at least three layers of materials, including a water-resistant outer layer," a spokesman said.
Makeshift masks and those with holes or valves get the thumbs downs.
"A scarf or bandana does not offer the same amount of protection as a well-fitted mask," the spokesman said.
Children under 12 years are not required to wear masks when visiting the health facilities.
"Toddlers under two years of age and babies must not wear masks, which are a choking and suffocation risk," the spokesman said.
He said it was important to handle masks safely.
"Wash your hands before application, once it's on don't touch it further and wash your hands again," the spokesman said.
"If you touch the mask wash your hands afterwards.
"Safely dispose of a single-use mask in the bin and have more than one reusable mask so that you have a fresh one with each use and wash them all at the end of the day."
The spokesman said a mask was "not a substitute for other precautions" including staying home when sick, practicing social distancing and washing hands.