State mask rules in health care settings will no longer be required in Oregon and Washington as of Monday, 3 April 2023.
About a month ago, state health officials told the public about the upcoming changes. This was part of a coordinated effort to end one of the most consistent rules of the pandemic.
The decision was made because state health officials saw that cases of Influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection, and COVID-19 were all going down. Still, Oregon State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger knew that people would have mixed feelings about removing the rule that everyone wears a mask in medical settings.
“For many… this is a great positive step as we move on from COVID,” said Sidelinger. “For others, particularly those with chronic conditions or immunocompromised, they’re facing this decision with some anxiety.”
Related:Oregon Officials Relax Mask Requirements in Health Care Facilities From April 3
Individual healthcare providers have all changed their masking rules in the last month, which will take effect on April 3.
A staff member at Portland Urgent Care named Teri Dantzler said, “We wanted to make sure that all of our patients stayed safe and were kind to each other.”
Dantzler said that starting Monday, people with cough or cold symptoms will still have to wear a mask. Employees will also wear masks if they have symptoms or if they are testing a patient for COVID. Dantzler said that staff members were very careful to wear masks during the pandemic, and it showed.
OR Health Authority also shared a tweet related to this news, given below-
Starting Monday, April 3, workers, patients and visitors in Oregon healthcare settings will not be required to wear masks.
For more information, read our news release: https://t.co/FKRZx5DKR5 pic.twitter.com/VOvt8fQsAq
— OR Health Authority (@OHAOregon) April 1, 2023
“Not one staff member that we’re aware of got COVID because of a patient walking in the door, so that was an amazing statistic for us,” said Dantzler.
Legacy Health will continue to require masks in certain places and situations, like around oncology, transplant, and medically fragile patients, and whenever a patient or family member asks for masks to be worn.
OHSU, Kaiser, PeaceHealth, and Providence Health & Services are making similar changes. For example, patients with signs of respiratory illness are being asked to keep wearing masks.
As the public moves into the next phase after the pandemic, health officials and care providers say people shouldn’t relax and should always be kind to others.
“To me that’s just common sense now that we’ve been wearing [masks] for so long,” said Dantzler. “We understand that it does help.”
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