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Mask enforcement: a cautionary tale

When a visitor and a patient spent hours in a double room with neither wearing a mask, the expected happened.

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Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic we’re experiencing our second major surge. This feels all too familiar, and yet the risk of transmission is greater today than it has been at any time during the past 22 months.

We must not relax precautions, especially when it comes to ensuring that our staff, patients and visitors are masked at all times.

At a hospital recently, a visitor spent a few hours with a loved one who was sharing a room with another patient due to the bed shortage. Neither the visitor nor the patient being visited was wearing a mask. That evening, the visitor called the hospital to say they had tested positive for COVID-19. A test of the patient also came back positive.

Not only did this situation pose harm to the people and staff involved, it put the other patient in the room at great risk. (That patient was quickly moved to a different room.)

With our hospitals under tremendous strain by forces we can’t control, we must make every effort to prevent those risks that we can control. That includes following pandemic precautions at all times.

We understand that enforcing our masking policy can be wearing in these charged times — we don’t know if we’ll get a polite or a hostile response. But protecting the safety of ourselves, co-workers, patients and visitors lies at the core of our work and is the foundation of Asante’s reputation for quality care.

Thank you for doing your part to ensure that everyone in our facility wears a  mask at all times. As we did during the last surge, we’ll get through this together.

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As omicron surges, N95s are now available to all staff
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