UW Health, UnityPoint- Meriter nix mask mandates in many places
They still will be required in some parts of the hospitals.
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Two of Madison’s largest health systems are drawing back their mask mandates at some locations.
On Tuesday, UW Health and UnityPoint Health – Meriter announced masks would no longer be required at many of its clinics and some parts of the hospital. However, both health systems still recommend people wear them.
There will be some parts of the hospital where people will need to mask up, the UW Health announcement noted.
“While this change reflects the improving public health environment around us, COVID-19 is still in all of our communities and everyone is encouraged to wear masks in clinical environments,” UnityPoint Health – Meriter infection prevention manager Katelyn Harris explained.
In general, the mandates will go away at the primary care clinics and outpatient locations. When at one of the hospitals or inpatient centers, the requirement is dropped in places like the entrances, registration desks, hallways, and cafeterias.
On the other hand, the parts of the hospital where high risk patients are will still require everyone to wear one. Some locations listed by UW Health include cancer and transplant centers, intensive care units, and around patients with compromised immune systems.
More information on where masks are and are not needed is available on the health systems websites: uwhealth.org and unitypoint.org.
The move comes a day after another health system, Aspirus Health, lifted its mandate for most situations.
As of Monday, Aspirus visitors would no longer have to wear a mask except in certain circumstances where patient safety is at risk. They will still be available at the hospital for people who do want to wear one. Also, hospital staff will wear masks as part of normal practice during procedures and other patient care as indicated by standard policies and procedures.
“We have been eager to remove restrictions for some time, but the COVID activity data we actively review hasn’t supported taking earlier action,” Aspirus Senior Vice President Jeff Wicklander said. “We thankfully have experienced a sustained period of low COVID-19 burden on our health system, so now is the time to safely make this positive change for our employees and those we serve.”
As well as changing its mask restrictions, Aspirus dropped its requirement that patients be tested for COVID-19 before being admitted, so long as they are not showing symptoms of the virus. A similar surgery mandate was eliminated in March.
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