OHA officially lifts mask mandate for healthcare settings

MEDFORD, Ore.– The OHA is officially lifting its mask mandate for healthcare facilities starting Monday.

But hospitals and clinics will still be able to require masks if they choose to do so.

Health care settings include hospitals, mobile clinics, ambulances, outpatient facilities, dental offices, urgent care centers and many more.

OHA’s Dean Sidelinger said, “for many, this is a great positive step as we move on from COVID, for others, particularly those with chronic conditions or who are immunocompromised, they’re facing this decision with some anxiety.”

Washington is also lifting its masking guidelines today.

Its important to point out that some health care facilities may continue to require masks, even after the mandate is lifted, as it is up to each private agency or office.

Locally, hospitals and clinics across our area have been preparing for the end of the mask mandate as well.

Local healthcare facilities are now able to set their own rules for masks.

Lauren Van Sickle from Asante said, “I think at this point, we’ve really turned a page on the pandemic and the spread of the virus.”

They expect some to be more comfortable without masks, but want to make sure those who prefer masks have that option.

Valley Immediate Care’s medical director said it’s still encouraging patients that are sick to wear a mask.

It said if patients prefer the staff to wear masks, they are more than happy to do so.

She said it’s still important people protect themselves and their community if they get sick.

Dr. Mona McArdle said, “we will continue to provide masks, especially because we’re a healthcare setting. If somebody comes in sick, it’s a good thing to put on a mask”

Providence says patients and visitors will have to wear a mask in areas with vulnerable patients.

It will also require patients to wear a mask when they are showing signs of a respiratory illness.

Sky Lakes Medical Center will also require patients and visitors to wear masks around vulnerable patients.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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