The statewide end to mask mandates at healthcare facilities ends as of today, but that doesn’t mean that masks may not be required locally.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced that it would end the Secretary of Health Mask Order as of today, following over 1000 days with it in effect since 2020.
While the statewide mandate is ending, Harbor Regional Health announced that they would maintain local masking requirements, with Summit Pacific saying some patients would also need to remain masked.
The mandate will continue at Harbor Regional Health Community Hospital and affiliated clinics, according to the public hospital group, with an internal memo to staff stating that the decision to continue requiring masking for all staff and visitors came “After careful consideration”.
Dori Untersaer, Chief Nursing Office at Harbor Regional Health says that the decision to continue masking requirements locally relates to the federal pandemic response declaration, which is scheduled to end May 11.
Summit Pacific Medical Center tells KXRO that beginning today, the hospital and clinics will follow new state guidance, but will require masks under certain circumstances.
Patients and visitors will not be required to mask in most instances. However, SPMC staff may require patients and visitors to wear a mask if exhibiting respiratory illness symptoms.
Staff will be required to mask in acute hospital-based patient care areas when direct staff-to-patient care is occurring within 6-feet of patient contact, unless shielded by a protective barrier.
This includes the Emergency Department, Acute Care Unit, Urgent Care Clinic, Diagnostic Imaging, Procedure Suite, and Lab.
Staff masking is not required in any public areas or at the Wellness Center, McCleary Healthcare Clinic, Summit Pacific Health Clinic or in Therapy Services.
Masks will be available at local healthcare locations for individuals who wish to continue masking.