Here’s Where COVID Mask Mandates Are Coming Back Across The US
Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Some hospitals and local governments have opted to reimpose mask mandates at health care facilities as officials have cited a rise in various respiratory illnesses such as the flu and COVID-19.
The mandates have been imposed in the past week or so in New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington state, and more.
Over the past weekend, four hospital systems implemented masking requirements in and around the Philadelphia area. Visitors and staff at Cooper University Health Care facilities have to wear face coverings in examination rooms and patient rooms starting Jan. 5.
On Jan. 6, Jefferson Health said that it would temporarily require all staff members in certain locations to wear masks until Jan. 29, and the University of Pennsylvania Health System has said it will require masks during all patient care and patient-facing procedures.
“Patients who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days or who have symptoms of COVID-19—cough, fever, sore throat, nasal congestion—must wear a mask,” the hospital said in a statement, according to CBS News. “Visitors who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days or who have symptoms of COVID-19 are not allowed to enter any facility, even with a mask.”
Main Line Health also said it would start mandating masks starting Jan. 4, including for patients and visitors, it was reported.
Los Angeles County announced last week that it will require masking in certain hospital settings when the county hits a medium level for COVID-19 hospitalizations, which it and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines as 10 to 10.9 new hospital admissions for every 100,000 people over a seven-day period.
“Over the past week in Los Angeles County, there have been notable, yet not unexpected, increases in COVID-19 reported cases, hospitalizations, and deaths,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement.
It added, “While recent increases are significant, they remain considerably below last winter’s peak and common-sense protections are strongly recommended to help curb transmission and severe illness as the new year begins.”
Also in California, several counties around the San Francisco Bay Area have implemented a mask mandate that started in early November because of an anticipated rise in respiratory illnesses over the winter season. That mandate will end in April, officials have said. Near Los Angeles, officials in San Luis Obispo County issued a similar mandate last year.
New York City’s government implemented a mask mandate for all of its 11 public hospitals and various health care and long-term care centers across the five boroughs, according to an announcement several days ago.
“What we don’t want is staffing shortages, right?” the city’s health commissioner, Ashwin Vasan, told local media outlet WABC TV on Jan. 3. “When we saw the omicron wave in 2022, the biggest issues were not only people getting sick, but that we had a lot of front-line health workers, they were out with COVID.”
Last month and in the fall of 2023, several upstate and western New York hospitals reimplemented mask mandates during an earlier, smaller rise in COVID-19.
Several hospital systems and companies also started requiring masks in recent days. And Cook County Health, which encompasses Chicago, and Endeavor Health in the Chicago area, is again requiring masks at its facilities. The requirement came after the Illinois Department of Public Health sent a letter to hospitals suggesting they reimpose masking.
Hospitals in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Delaware, and Washington state have imposed similar mask requirements, according to reports.
In North Carolina, Cape Fear Valley Health said it would require masks for all patients and visitors. Meanwhile, UNC Health, Duke Health, and WakeMed started restricting young visitors from some inpatient areas last week, local media reported.
Kaiser Permanente said last month that it would reimpose mask mandates at locations across Washington state. However, that rule affects only staff who work with patients.
In Delaware, TidalHealth announced on Dec. 28, 2023, that it’s mandating masks for all hospital visitors in patients’ rooms. That rule was initiated in “an effort to protect the most vulnerable of our population from close contact with persons that may be contagious but not yet have symptoms,” according to the hospital.
Several hospitals in Wisconsin also imposed face-covering requirements starting late last month.
While officials at the hospitals have said that COVID-19 cases are on the rise, the CDC’s historical data suggest that the number of cases is smaller than a year ago. For the week ending Dec. 30, 2023, hospitalizations stood at about 34,800; on Dec. 31, 2022, the number was more than 44,500.
Mon, 01/08/2024 – 19:20