Masking requirements at Legacy Health end in most areas on April 3, 2023
March 30, 2023 – At Legacy Health, the safety of our patients, staff, and communities is our number one priority.
The Legacy Health leadership team, in partnership with clinical leaders, has made changes to Legacy’s masking protocols, given recent decisions from the Oregon Health Authority and the Washington State Department of Health, eliminating mask requirements in health care settings effective April 3, 2023.
Face masks in Legacy Health hospitals, clinics, and patient areas will no longer be required for asymptomatic patients, visitors, and staff on April 3. There are certain areas and situations where masking requirements will continue beyond April 3, including areas with a high volume of oncology, transplant, and medically fragile patients. Universal masking may be required when caring for dialysis patients or when masking is designated by a physician based on a patient’s immune status.
Legacy employees, providers, patients, volunteers, partners, and visitors are encouraged to continue wearing masks if they prefer. If patients request masking from our care providers, our staff will honor that request.
“It’s welcome news to see a substantial drop in disease rates of flu, RSV, and COVID-19 across Oregon and Washington,” said Melinda Muller, MD, FACP, senior vice president, and chief medical officer for Legacy Health. “We ask our patients, employees, and visitors to please support one another and respect anyone who decides to mask out of personal preference, individual risk factors, or as required for illness symptoms.”
Masking guidelines in effect Monday, April 3
Legacy Health will continue to require masking in the following units, areas, and situations:
- Upon request of the patient or family.
- COVID-19 protection: Legacy Health will follow the standard and transmission-based precaution guidelines when caring for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and PPE requirements for other transmission-based precautions.
- Certain patient populations: Masks will still be required for staff and visitors in specific areas that serve oncology, transplant, and medically fragile patients. This requirement is determined by department leadership. Masks are also required when designated by a physician based on a patient’s immune status.
- In response to outbreaks: Legacy Health will implement more strigent masking requirements in units or hospitals in response to a respiratory infection outbreak.
- COVID-19 return to work: Employees and providers with confirmed or presumed COVID-19 infection who return to work after five days must continue to mask for five additional days. Legacy Health staff will continue using return to work and manager response to exposure guides for potential exposures with employees out ill from COVID-19.
- Unity Center for Behavioral Health: Recognizing the higher-risk patient population and communal care setting, Unity Center will continue its current masking guidelines for patients, visitors, and staff throughout the hospital.
Legacy will continue to closely monitor the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 community transmission levels. Legacy Health will evaluate mask requirements if there is a significant surge of COVID-19, a challenging respiratory virus season, a rise in RSV, or other urgent infection prevention needs.
Legacy Health will continue to follow COVID-19 prevention guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and collaborate with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), and county public health officials to monitor virus levels in our communities.
We encourage everyone to stay up to date with all recommended vaccines, including flu and COVID-19, and stay home if sick.