Note: Providence Home and Community Care settings may have different masking requirements beginning April 3. The same is true for Center for Medically Fragile Children. Watch each ministry’s communications for more information.
PROVIDENCE OREGON – Masking requirements for health care settings will expire in Oregon and Washington on April 3. Note that even when masking requirements expire at the state level, we are required to follow CDC guidance. Since the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is planning for the federal public health emergency for COVID-19 to end on May 11, we anticipate CDC guidance will be updated in coming weeks.
From April 3 until we get updated guidance from CDC, our masking guidelines will be relaxed for some settings. However, some areas with vulnerable populations will continue to follow existing practices.
For most areas, the following general guidelines will be in effect until additional guidance is issued
Providers and caregivers: Universal masking is required when encountering a patient (for example, when providing direct patient care, entering a patient's room or interacting with a patient during therapy or treatment.)
Patients: Masking is highly recommended when someone enters the patient’s room or is providing care, as well as whenever the patient is out of their room, such as when they are seated in a waiting area.
Visitors: Masking is highly recommended for those entering a patient’s room, during interactions with caregivers, and in waiting areas.
Masking will continue to be required for caregivers, patients and visitors if
- They are in specific areas of our facilities with vulnerable patients. Ministry leaders may continue to require masking to protect certain vulnerable populations within a facility.
- They are having respiratory symptoms, are suspected to have COVID, or until 10 days after testing positive or developing symptoms for COVID.
- An outbreak is occurring on a unit or department among patients or caregivers.
- A patient or visitor asks the caregiver to wear a mask.
Note: We may need to re-institute universal masking when we have high levels of respiratory viruses circulating in the community (for example, influenza, RSV, COVID).
Signs and talking points are coming soon
Signs and public communication for patients and visitors will be available as of April 3. We are also preparing talking points that will help answer common questions for caregivers, patients and visitors. Watch for more information in next week’s Core Leader News and Providence Spirit.
Other recommended infection protection strategies will continue
- Voluntary use of masks for caregivers in public spaces and conference rooms.
- Infectious risk screening of patients in the electronic health record on admission, and regular symptom monitoring.
- Signs that will help visitors and caregivers self-screen for symptoms.
- Requirement that caregivers stay home if ill. Visitors will also be asked to return home if they are ill.
- Requirement to use standard precautions and wear PPE if you anticipate exposure (including splash, splatter, exposure to aerosolized particles).
Remember that ministry leaders may require masking to protect certain vulnerable populations within your facility.
While the risks associated with COVID may continue to recede, we must be mindful of other infectious diseases circulating in the community and the need to protect our vulnerable populations to the degree possible.
Additional information will be shared as the CDC as well as other federal and state entities update their policies and guidelines. Watch for more information specific to your area in the weeks to come.