NEWPORT – North Country Hospital has announced that it will relax its universal masking requirements for visitors and guests starting Monday, April 17.
The hospital’s decision follows in the footsteps of several other hospitals in Vermont and across the nation.
According to the hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer and VP of Patient Care Services, Megan Sargent, the mask requirement will now only apply to people with cold or flu-like symptoms when they come to the hospital or an outpatient clinic.
“Our personal protective equipment strategy, including required masking, has been a crucial element of our COVID response over the last three years,” said Tracey Paul, NCH Interim Managing Officer. “Masking was an easy and effective way to protect our patients and staff during the height of the pandemic.”
However, there are some exceptions to the mask rollback.
Visitors and guests who have tested positive or have been exposed to someone testing positive for Covid in the past 10 days, are currently experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness, or have a healthcare provider recommendation or personal preference to wear a mask will still be required to do so.
Masks may also still be required in certain procedural settings.
Despite the changes, the hospital will continue to provide masks for anyone who chooses to wear one.
“This is a welcome change for our community and for our hospital,” said Paul. “After three years of universal masking, we look forward to seeing faces again. Our patients, visitors, and guests have been cooperative and the community-wide effort to keep everyone safe was an important management tool during the pandemic.”
North Country Hospital encourages everyone to continue practicing good hand hygiene, social distancing, and staying home when feeling unwell to help keep the community safe.