Kaiser hospital latest to reinstate masking

Kaiser Permanente is reintroducing a mask mandate at its facilities in Santa Rosa, Calif., amid an uptick in patients testing positive for COVID-19, according to a statement obtained by The Press Democrat. 

According to a statement shared Aug. 22, the Oakland, Calif.-based health system said there's been a rise in the number of patients testing positive over the last three weeks. 

"To ensure that we are helping protect the health and safety of our patients, our workforce and our community, we have reintroduced a mask mandate for physicians, staff, patients, members, and visitors in the hospital and medical offices in the Santa Rosa Service Area," Kaiser said in the statement, according to the report. In addition to Santa Rosa Medical Center, Kaiser has several medical offices in the region. 

In a statement sent to Becker's, a spokesperson for Kaiser Permamente's Northern California region in part said, "We are supportive of and will adhere to requirements required by local county public health departments in addition to state guidelines," confirming the mask policy was reintroduced in the Santa Rosa service area. 

"As the status of COVID-19 in our communities continues to evolve, our Kaiser Permanente Infection Prevention and Control experts continue to monitor transmission rates closely. These experts use this information to inform the need to institute masking requirements as indicated for situations such as outbreak management and/or reducing healthcare-associated transmission of COVID-19," the statement said. Even in areas where they are not required, "masks remain a recommended tool" to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses across the health system's facilities in Northern California, the statement said. 

At least three other hospitals — each in New York — have brought back mask rules amid a nationwide increase in COVID-19 admissions. On Aug. 22, 10 experts penned a commentary urging healthcare facilities to integrate masking as part of routine policies and recommended four approaches for hospitals to consider when it comes to masking policies.  


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