Pennsylvania orders stricter COVID-19 protections for all hospital workers

Pennsylvania's state health secretary issued an order June 9 requiring all hospitals to better protect staff from COVID-19. 

"I have heard from nurses and staff, and this order responds directly to many of their safety concerns," said Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, MD. 

The order requires hospitals to develop, implement and adhere to the following measures by June 15: 

  • Notify staff who have been in close contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case within 24 hours of the known contact; provide instruction for quarantine and work exclusion
  • Provide testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic hospital staff members who have received notice of a close contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case upon request
  • Equip staff with nationally approved respirators when staff determine the mask is soiled, damaged or otherwise ineffective 
  • Require universal masking for all individuals entering the hospital facility, except for people for whom wearing a mask would create a further health risk, or individuals under age 2

In addition to medical staff, the measures apply to staff members in therapeutic services, social services, housekeeping services, dietary services and maintenance.

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