The state’s recent decision to lift the indoor face mask mandate on March 12 serves as an illustration for encouraging trends related to the COVID-19 pandemic and hospitalizations. However, the Oregon Health Authority will still require face masks in health care facilities until further notice.
“Samaritan’s hospitals and clinics are dedicated to the health and well-being of patients and our caregivers,” Samaritan President and CEO Doug Boysen said through a news release. “It is our duty to prevent the spread of coronavirus in our facilities, so we appreciate the Oregon Health Authority’s guidance on the use of face masks in health care settings. This will especially protect the most vulnerable patients, some of whom are immunocompromised or very sick and are at a
high risk of severe illness or death should they get COVID-19.”
All Samaritan hospitals and clinics require patients, visitors and staff to wear medical-grade face masks. Patients and visitors may wear their own medical-grade face masks — often known as procedure masks or surgical masks, N95s or KN95s — as long as the masks are well fitting and do not have valves.
Bandanas, gaiters, face shields and cloth face masks are not allowed in Samaritan facilities. If a patient or visitor does not have a well-fitting, medical-grade face mask, one will be provided.
“Masking is an important way to decrease the chances of unknowingly spreading COVID-19 to a vulnerable person,” said Dr. Adam Brady, infectious disease physician and chair of Samaritan’s coronavirus task force. “Careful use of face masks and other infection-prevention measures will continue to protect vulnerable patients in our facilities.”
For more information about Samaritan Health Services’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including information about vaccination and testing, visit samhealth.org/Coronavirus.