Washington, Oregon end mask mandates in health facilities

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Washington and Oregon will soon eliminate mask requirements in healthcare settings, state health officials said Friday, aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. We are moving to lift the last major mask requirement.

Restrictions in both states end on April 3rd. This means healthcare workers, patients and visitors will no longer be required to wear masks in facilities such as hospitals, emergency care centers, dental offices and clinics. Washington’s mask requirements at correctional facilities also end on April 3.

The decision comes as data in recent weeks show declining circulation of COVID-19, RSV and influenza, the three respiratory viruses that caused a surge in hospital visits last fall. state epidemiologist Dean Sidelinger said in a news release. From the Oregon Department of Health.

The Washington State Department of Health also said disease incidence and hospitalization rates have continued to decline since the end of last year.

“Masks, along with vaccinations, are and will continue to be an important tool in keeping people healthy and safe,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health, in a news release. I was. “We thank our medical and long-term care providers, staff members, patients, and all Washington citizens for following the important public health measures put in place during the pandemic to protect each other.”

Healthcare facilities and local public health agencies have one month to prepare for the change and adjust their safety policies accordingly.

Some medical institutions may decide to continue requiring masks even after statewide requirements are lifted, officials said.

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