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With masking rule lifted, Asante returns to pre-COVID practices

From masking to testing, many pandemic precautions are being shelved.

As an organization, we’ve learned a lot over the past three years when it comes to patient safety, quality standards and disease prevention. During the next 30 days, we’ll experience a pivotal transition in how we care for our COVID-19 patients.

Based on informed and current evidence, the Quality team is updating all relevant COVID-19 policies, procedures and guidelines, as well as archiving others that no longer apply. The following changes will take effective during the month of April.


On Monday, April 3, Asante ended Universal Pandemic Precautions and source-control masking within all its medical facilities. This decision follows the Oregon Health Authority’s end to masking requirements for health care settings and OSHA’s decision to follow OHA’s recommendation.

Staff, patients and visitors will adhere to diagnosis-specific, transmission-based precautions (e.g., airborne, droplet, standard precautions) per Asante policy.

Asante still is required to follow COVID-19 vaccination laws for health care workers and must adhere to additional precautions for our unvaccinated workforce. These additional precautions include:

  • Monitoring COVID-19 testing and positivity data from Asante’s laboratory.
  • Regional and national COVID-19 surveillance information provided by local health departments.
  • Oregon Health Authority data and guidance.
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data and guidance.
  • Hospitalizations.
  • COVID-19 strains with an increased mortality rate.

Asante Quality and executive leaders will continue to review the above factors. If these change significantly, masks may be deemed necessary to address the transmission and spread of COVID-19.

During a mask-on period, employees with an approved exception to the COVID-19 vaccination must wear a mask for source control within any patient care area. Source-control masks may be removed in patient care areas while eating or drinking, or in a private bathroom, office or conference room.

Other instances when patients, visitor and staff may be asked to wear a mask are when they exhibit respiratory illness symptoms and are in the care settings of our most vulnerable patients such as critical care, oncology and NICU.

Patients, visitors and staff may feel more comfortable continuing to wear a mask. We ask that all Asante staff honor choices.

Teams are updating policies, procedures and guidelines on:

  • Transmission-based isolation precautions.
  • Isolation requirements.
  • COVID-19 vaccination policy.
  • Words That Work (mask refusal/mask requests).

The guidelines on PPE, entrance screening and visitation procedures will be archived.


Beginning Tuesday, April 4, universal screening and testing of asymptomatic patients for inpatient and outpatient admissions or procedures will be stopped. Asante will transition to testing symptomatic individuals only for determining a differential diagnosis by the provider.

Policy, procedure and guidelines on quarantine, isolation and special precautions along with COVID-19 screening, scheduling and testing will be archived.

Exposure, quarantine and isolation (including employee return-to-work)

Asante will resume following transmission-based isolation precautions per policy and no longer will monitor COVID-19 exposures or quarantine asymptomatic patients.

  • Leaders’ COVID-19 exposure notifications end April 3.
  • COVID-exposure pay for staff ends April 3.
  • Staff return-to-work process will follow Employee Health policies.
  • The COVID-19 info hub on myAsanteNET will be archived.

The team will update policies, procedures and guidelines on:

  • Transmission-based isolation precautions.
  • Isolation requirements.
  • Work restrictions for health care workers.

Other unit-specific items

Policies on Emergency Department care of the COVID-19 patient, APP COVID-19 clinical operations and the COVID-19 Pediatric Unit checklist will be archived.

Documents related to COVID-19 will be revised or archived over the next few weeks. Please check the revision date to ensure you’re accessing the most current policy.

COVID-19 vaccination

Federal and state mandates for health care workers remain in place, and Asante will continue to comply with those requirements. Unvaccinated employees still must obtain a religious or medical exception to work at an Asante facility; however, masking is no longer required for unvaccinated staff.

If you have questions or concerns, please email [email protected]. Your inquiry will be directed to the appropriate person for a response.


Join Holly Nickerson, vice president of Quality and Patient Safety, every day this week at the Employee Engagement and Communication Fair. Nickerson offers details on the new policy and takes your questions.

Schedule for the Quality Reimagined presentations »

mask sign
What about the signs?

If you see an outdated COVID-19 sign in your facility, please remove it. These include:

  • Mandatory masking posters.*
  • Physical distancing notices and floor stickers.
  • Visitor restriction signs.

Please return large display stands and sawhorses to your building’s Facilities Department.

*Some facilities may post signs asking visitors to wear a mask to protect vulnerable patients.

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