In response to the surge in COVID-19 cases leading to an increase in hospitalizations throughout the nation, numerous hospitals and healthcare systems have reverted to mandatory mask-wearing policies for both staff and patients.
Recent data unveiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated a 21.6% rise in COVID-related hospitalizations and a 21.4% increase in deaths in the recent week.
Consequently, healthcare facilities are tightening precautionary measures, though these statistics remain considerably lower than the peaks recorded during the pandemic’s pinnacle. This information has been reported by Becker’s Hospital Review and confirmed by Fox News Digital.
Among the medical facilities that have reintroduced obligatory masking as of August 25 are several hospitals affiliated with health systems in New York and California. The healthcare organizations enacted immediate implementation of the policy, extending it to all clinical areas, including patient registration, waiting, and test receiving areas, as well as communal spaces like patient care units, lobbies, elevators, and cafeterias. The exceptions are when individuals are eating or drinking.
Amid this, health epidemiologists and infectious diseases experts have urged for an end to universal masking in healthcare as they believe the risk-benefit analysis has altered. This view was stated by Dr. Shira Doron, Tufts Medicine health system’s chief infection control officer, in a press release. Dr. Marc Siegel, a clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, however, voiced his support for mask mandates in facilities with high-risk patient populations.
Despite several healthcare professionals’ arguments against universal mask mandates, the rise in COVID cases has led leading hospital systems to advocate for their staff’s and patients’ safety, thus reintroducing mask-wearing rules.