Universal Masking No Longer Required at Northern Light Health Facilities
In what may be the most visible indicator of how far we have come in the response and management of COVID-19, Northern Light Health ended our universal masking policy statewide effective April 20, 2023. While masking will still be required in certain areas, such as cancer care and infusion centers, masking will not be required for most people in most facilities.
“We have been working closely with clinical leaders for several months to determine the right time and right way to move away from universal masking. The downward trend in community infection and hospitalization rates for respiratory illness, coupled with careful planning to ensure the safety of our patients and staff, indicate we’re ready,” explains Glenda Dwyer RN, MBA, FACHE, Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations & Chief Access Officer.
Starting Thursday, April 20, 2023, most patients, staff, and visitors will not need to mask in most areas of Northern Light Health facilities. For continued patient and team safety, face masks will still be required:
- In cancer treatment and infusion centers
- For people who have:
- signs of respiratory illness (with or without fever) such as congestion, cough, runny nose, and sore throat
- been diagnosed with respiratory illness (COVID-19, flu, etc.)
- had a known exposure to COVID-19 (within 10 days)
“Masking continues to be a vital part of our infection prevention toolbox. While many of us are excited for this next step, and to see the end of universal masking, it’s important to remember that masks provide protection from many illnesses and that doesn’t end with the COVID-19 becoming endemic or a policy change,” says, Dwyer, “There will always be times when masking is the right choice for an individual, or a group. You cannot always see people’s vulnerabilities; you don’t know who they may be caring for at home.”
All Northern Light Health locations welcome staff and patients to continue to mask if they choose and will continue to provide masks for patient and visitor use on site. Patients are welcome to request care team members wear a mask while receiving care.
As Northern Light Health continues to prepare for the end of the public health emergency, more frequent updates and information will be made available on our website and social media channels, and in our facilities.