As respiratory virus season approaches, the Stratford area’s hospital group is once again requiring anyone in clinical areas at hospitals in Stratford, St. Marys, Seaforth and Clinton to wear a face mask.
In a press release, Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance officials said the group is updating its masking guidelines in anticipation of increased spread of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RV) and COVID-19. Ace of Sep. 20, masking is required in all clinical areas in local hospitals, including inpatient units, emergency departments, outpatient clinics, imaging, labs and waiting rooms.
“Masks continue to be a key tool for infection prevention and control,” manager of quality, patient safety and infection control Erica Jensen said in a press release. “Currently, the rate of COVID-19 and test positivity rates are higher in our area than in others throughout the province. We are also seeing an increase in respiratory outbreaks, including our own recent COVID-19 outbreak, so the decision has been made to return to masking in clinical areas to help keep our patients and team members safe from hospital-acquired respiratory infections.”
Medical-grade masks are being provided at masking stations throughout Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance hospitals.
Masks are not required, but are strongly recommended, in non-clinical areas including hallways, elevators, cafeterias, meeting rooms and administrative offices. Areas where masking is required are clearly marked.
“If you are not sure, wear a mask. If you feel sick or have symptoms of illness, you are strongly encouraged to wear a mask in all areas of our hospitals. If you are family member or caregiver who is feeling unhappy, it is advised that you postpone your visit with your loved one until you are feeling better,” Jensen said.
Universal masking may be reintroduced at area hospitals, depending on disease activity, during respiratory illness season and for outbreak management.
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