Update on masking requirements effective April 3

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 – As we announced last week, we’ll have new masking requirements in our hospitals and clinics beginning April 3. That’s when masking requirements for health care settings expire in Oregon and Washington.

This update offers more detailed guidance on masking, along with answers to common questions, and information to share with patients.

Provider and caregiver requirements as of April 3

  • Universal masking is required for providers and caregivers when encountering a patient:
    • 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 greeting and checking in patients at a front desk. Consider your risk and mask if desired.
  • Masking is voluntary for providers and caregivers at nurses’ stations, in hallways (when not transporting a patient), and in breakrooms, lobbies and conference rooms.
  • Providers and caregivers with respiratory symptoms must follow masking guidance from caregiver health services.

Note that we may need to reinstate universal masking when we have high levels of respiratory viruses circulating in our community (such as influenza, RSV or COVID).

Patient requirements

  • Masking is highly recommended when someone enters the patient’s room or is providing care. It is also highly recommended whenever the patient is out of their room, such as when they are seated in a waiting area. 
  • Masking is required for patients able to mask when they:
  • Have respiratory symptoms or as indicated by isolation precautions.
  • Are outside of their room in a unit or department experiencing an outbreak.

Visitor requirements

  • Masking is highly recommended for visitors entering a patient’s room, during interactions with caregivers, and in waiting areas.
  • Masking is required for visitors when they:
  • Are in a high-risk area as determined by ministry leadership (updates coming through safety huddle).
  • Are in a unit or department experiencing an outbreak.

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.

Communication with patients and visitors

We have new signs for our hospitals and clinics. Poster-size signs will be set up in hospitals on April 3. Additional signs and a visitor flyer are available in English and Spanish, which you can print as needed:

Here’s how to answer two common questions from patients and visitors:

  • Why do I have to wear a mask in this area, if the state says it’s no longer required?
    The patients in this area are more vulnerable to serious complications from a respiratory infection. When you wear a mask, you are protecting them from any viruses you may be carrying, even if you don’t have symptoms or know that you have an infection.
  • Why are Providence employees wearing masks, if the state says it’s no longer required?
    We know that often patients in our hospitals and clinics can be more vulnerable to serious complications from respiratory infections. Since we see many different patients throughout the day, we are taking this extra step to protect our patients and community.

Learn more

See answers to common questions in FAQs from the infection prevention team.

Additional information will be shared as the CDC and other federal and state entities update their policies and guidelines. Watch for more information in future issues of Provider Update. 


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