Phoebe drops universial masking requirements
Masks still required in some places
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Phoebe Putney Health System is dropping its masking requirements at its facilities, with the exception of a few places, the health system said Friday.
“The safety of our patients, visitors and employees must always be our top priority,” said Dr. Dianna Grant, Phoebe Putney Health System’s chief medical officer. “With less COVID transmission, we are comfortable revising our masking rules, but there will remain certain areas where masks will still be required to protect patients and staff members.”
The health system said masking will still be required in the following places:
- Phoebe emergency centers
- cancer center
- patient floors (including waiting areas)
- all other patient care areas
The health system said anyone with COVID or other contagious respiratory illnesses symptoms will be required to wear a surgical mask.
Phoebe officials said masks will no longer be required “in non-clinical departments and other areas where direct interactions with patients do not occur.”
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have consistently followed CDC guidelines regarding use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in our facilities. Recently, the CDC updated its recommendations, allowing healthcare organizations to cease universal masking as long as community transmission in their locations is not listed as ‘high.’ The communities we serve currently fall under that guidance, so we are loosening our masking rules,” Grant said.
If community transmission levels increase to the “high” category, Phoebe officials said the health system will return to universal masking.
The health system said the number of COVID cases will likely increase over the next couple of months, but that a major surge is less likely.
“We are in a much better place now than the last two winters when we endured large COVID waves. People can help ensure that we don’t have another big winter surge by getting a COVID booster shot. The updated bivalent boosters provide excellent protection against the current dominant strains of the virus,” Grant said.
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