The Puget Sound Area Community Health Facility issued a statement requesting continued masking in acute care and ambulatory clinics.
Local consensus ensures a consistent and clear message that these medical facilities prioritize the health and safety of both patients and employees. See the full statement below.
Areas in the region, including Seattle and King County Public Health, Tacoma Pierce County Health, Snohomish County Health, Kitsap Public Health District, San Juan Health, and Clallam and Jefferson Counties Public Health health jurisdictions fully support the following decisions: Healthcare organizations should now require masking at their facilities to reduce the ongoing risk of COVID-19.
“No one should get preventable infections because they need to seek medical care. Public Health – Seattle and King County (and the Washington State Department of Health) continue to recommend masks for patients, providers, and visitors in healthcare settings. The decision by local healthcare providers to require masking is consistent with our recommendations.”
– Dr. Jeff Duchin, Public Health Officer – Seattle and King Counties.
Statement on Masking Requirements for Community Health Facilities to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
Healthcare facilities are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing the health and safety of patients and healthcare workers. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is primarily transmitted by small airborne droplets and large respiratory droplets. Along with other interventions such as vaccination and attention to indoor air quality, masking in high-risk settings is central to limiting the spread of COVID-19 (and other respiratory viruses).
Today, local and regional health systems are restating their commitment to patient and health care worker safety by continuing masking requirements at emergency care and ambulatory care facilities. This is important and pertinent because the current community burden of COVID-19 is substantial and underestimated by case reports. Severe cases associated with infection among vulnerable populations (including the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, or many other underlying medical conditions, pregnant women and infants) who must visit health care settings. Disease risk is ongoing. In addition, there are no preventive treatments currently available for immunocompromised patients, and the post-COVID-19 condition and long-term COVID-19 is a significant but poorly measured health impact of COVID-19.
For these reasons, the Puget Sound area’s local health jurisdictions continue to recommend mask-wearing in health care facilities, and this unified effort to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 in health care facilities. We fully support the regional approach. Local consensus ensures a consistent and clear message that these medical facilities prioritize the health and safety of both patients and employees.
The long-term direction and health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and SARS-CoV-2, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and other respiratory viruses co-circulate. As our community learns to live with his COVID-19, there will be an increasing focus on protecting those most at risk of severe illness. Local community health jurisdictions will continue to work with health partners to reduce the burden of disease both within health facilities and across communities.
- Use the best and best quality mask available.
- The best masks for filtering viruses are N95 and KN95 along with KF94 masks.
- For optimal protection, wear a mask that fits snugly across your cheeks and nose.
Masks protect the wearer and others from contracting COVID-19. When people talk, cough, sneeze, and breathe, they expose people around them to respiratory droplets and smaller particles called aerosols. Masks help prevent the spread of particles, including viruses. Masks are useful in situations where someone is infected but he has no symptoms of COVID-19 and may unintentionally spread the virus.
First Posted: March 24, 2023