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COVID-19 protection: What’s different

As the pandemic slowly moves toward endemic, Asante guidelines are relaxing.

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As we continue to push toward balance and our pandemic moves to an endemic phase, we are continually updating our protocols for PPE and for staff vaccination.

As you’re aware, Asante now allows unvaccinated employees with an approved medical or religious exception to work on-site provided they take additional precautions. (See updated COVID-19 vaccination policy.) Additional precautions means a layer of PPE that is in addition to the baseline level at any particular Asante worksite.

For example, if the baseline PPE at the hospital is a simple mask, then additional precautions means a NIOSH-approved N95 is required as a means of source control. If the baseline PPE is that no masks are required, then additional precautions means that a simple mask is required. (When used in patient care under the Respiratory Protection Program, N95s must be fit-tested through Asante Employee Health.) The additional precautions may be removed during eating, drinking or when alone in a private bathroom or office.

Although the CDC has loosened masking requirements in health care facilities, the Oregon Health Authority recently announced it will maintain its masking rule through the winter while influenza remains a threat. Asante must follow the stricter state law.

Under our updated COVID PPE policy) eye protection is recommended but no longer required. You can find all PPE-related policies and guidelines in a single drop-down menu on the COVID-19 hub.

Finally, Asante is not requiring unvaccinated staff to display any symbol of their vaccination status, whether for flu or COVID-19. This honor system only works if all employees follow our policies and act in the best interest of the patient according to our high infection prevention and quality standards. We will continue to flex our guidelines regarding PPE as conditions warrant. Thank you for all you are doing to keep our patients safe.

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Lauren Van Sickle named PR, communications manager

If you need answers for a personal work matter, please contact the author or department directly instead of leaving a comment.

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