As Washington State approaches a full reopening, we want to offer a reminder that masks are still required in health care settings, even for those who are fully vaccinated. This mandate comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Washington State Department of Health, and we at WSHA strongly support it.
Hospitals care for the most vulnerable members of our communities. This includes infants in the neonatal intensive care unit, immunocompromised patients receiving bone marrow transplants, and many others who are unable to be vaccinated and/or are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. It is critical that we take the small step of masking up in health care settings to protect these individuals.
This mask mandate applies to everyone — staff, patients and visitors — and WSHA has signage you can display in your facility alerting those who enter that masks are still required. During our most recent media briefing June 21, we called on members of the press to help us share this message. While we have yet to hear of any violent confrontations in Washington hospitals, we have heard of heated exchanges requiring intervention from hospital security. We hope to keep these incidents from escalating.
We have also encouraged the governor to include this message as the state reopens, emphasizing that removing our masks in certain situations is acceptable but not to be expected as the norm in all situations, particularly health care.
Thank you for your commitment to keeping patients safe! As always, you can find WSHA’s COVID-19 resources on our website at www.wsha.org/coronavirus.
WSHA President & CEO