Masking required when encountering a patient, beginning Dec. 19

PROVIDENCE OREGON – New masking requirements in our hospitals and clinics take effect Tuesday, Dec. 19. See detailed guidance below. 

Why it matters: We are seeing an increase in respiratory infections from viruses such as COVID, flu and RSV. We also anticipate sustained increases with some fluctuation throughout the season.

Caregiver and clinician requirements as of Dec. 19

  • Masking is required for all caregivers and clinicians when encountering a patient, both inpatients and outpatients.
    • While providing direct patient care, entering a patient’s room, providing therapy or treatment outside of a room and transporting patients.
    • When using standard precautions to prevent spray or splash, or as indicated by isolation precautions.
    • When asked by a patient or visitor to wear a mask.
    • During an outbreak.
  • Masking is highly recommended for caregivers and clinicians in all other areas at Providence, and especially where it’s difficult to socially distance.
  • Caregivers and clinicians with respiratory symptoms must follow masking guidance from caregiver health services.

Patient and visitor requirements

  • Masking continues to be highly recommended in a patient’s room, during interactions with caregivers, and in waiting areas. 
  • Masking will continue to be required for patients and visitors if:
  • They are in specific areas of our facilities with vulnerable patients: inpatient and outpatient infusion, and the senior psychiatric unit. Ministry leaders also may require masking in other areas to protect vulnerable populations.
  • They will encounter someone who has respiratory symptoms and to protect themselves from exposures to blood or body fluids, according to standard and transmission-based precautions.
  • An outbreak or cluster of infections is occurring on a unit or department among patients or caregivers.
  • Masking also will continue to be required for patients if: They are having respiratory symptoms, are suspected to have COVID, or until at least 10 days after testing positive or developing symptoms for COVID.

Please encourage visitors with respiratory symptoms to stay home. If they arrive at the facility, they will be asked to put on a mask, return home, and visit with the patient using an alternate method.


Stricter masking requirements may be implemented when we have high levels of respiratory viruses circulating in our community (such as influenza, RSV or COVID) or during an outbreak.

Communication with patients and visitors

Since requirements for patients and visitors haven't changed, our existing signs remain in place. 

A new flyer is available for patients and visitors who ask why caregivers are wearing masks. 

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