Masks required while working with hospital patients

PROVIDENCE OREGON – To protect vulnerable patients, caregivers must wear masks for patient-facing encounters – in all emergency departments and inpatient units except at Providence Medford, which will continue to monitor the situation. Masks for patients, visitors and other caregivers continue to be highly recommended.

The change, effective Aug. 29, comes as COVID tests have jumped to 15% positive, up from 4% in July.

The number of caregivers out sick is also increasing sharply, with more than 100 caregivers testing positive last week.

Additional actions needed

  • Maintain a low threshold to test patients with respiratory symptoms for COVID.
    • Anyone with even mild COVID symptoms should receive a test as soon as possible, regardless of vaccination status.
    • Place these patients on transmission-based precautions.
  • If you’re exposed to COVID, contact caregiver health for guidance – even if you don’t have symptoms.
    • Call 949-534-4450.
  • If you develop COVID symptoms, stay home from work and contact caregiver health to report illness and get guidance on returning to work.

Complete masking requirements

For most areas, the following general guidelines for masking are now in effect.

  • NEW! Caregivers: Masking is required when encountering a patient in all hospitals except Providence Medford. Masking continues to be highly recommended for patient-facing encounters in all other settings. (Examples include when providing direct patient care, entering a patient’s room or interacting with a patient during therapy or treatment.)
  • Patients: Masking requirements are unchanged. 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 requirements are unchanged. 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 all caregivers, patients and visitors in all locations 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.
  • 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.

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

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