Changes to masking requirements begin April 29

Note: Providence Home and Community Care settings may have different masking requirements. The same is true for Center for Medically Fragile Children. Watch each ministry’s communications for more information.

PROVIDENCE OREGON – Since December, masking has been required for all caregivers and clinicians when encountering a patient, both inpatients and outpatients. As we see fewer cases of respiratory illness in our community, we are updating this guidance.

For most areas, follow these masking guidelines:

Caregivers and clinicians: Masking is highly recommended 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 and visitors: Masking is voluntary. 

Masking will be required for caregivers, clinicians, 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 or will encounter someone who has respiratory symptoms.
  • They need to protect themselves from exposure 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.

If a patient or fellow caregiver asks you to wear a mask, please do so.

Note: We may need to re-institute masking by service area when we have high levels of respiratory viruses circulating in the community (for example, influenza or COVID).

Other recommended infection prevention 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. 
  • Requirement that caregivers and clinicians 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. 

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Masks required while working with hospital patients
Masks required while working with hospital patients

The change comes as COVID tests have jumped to 15% positive, up from 4% in July.