Why are we continuing to require masking in our facilities?

For Intermountain caregivers, patients, and visitors

Healthcare settings are unique and differ from other public spaces. We are required by CMS and OSHA to follow CDC guidelines. On September 26, 2022, the CDC eased universal masking recommendations for hospitals and healthcare facilities in “low” transmission areas. However, our service area is still classified as “high,” so current masking standards will continue until it’s safe to resume normal prevention practices.

We believe our current guidelines are in the best interest of our patients and caregivers, here are a few key points:

  • Our hospitals and clinics care for vulnerable patients who are at risk of severe disease or death if infected. We want to minimize exposures and keep these vulnerable populations as safe as possible.
  • Newer variants of the virus causing COVID-19 are more likely to evade immune defenses than previous strains, even if someone has increased immunity from vaccination or previous infection.
  • We have caregiver shortages. While caregivers can become ill outside of work, we want to limit potential workplace exposures to keep caregivers healthy and able to work.

As a reminder, here is our current approach to masking in our facilities and care areas:

  • All patients and visitors must mask while in our care sites. Visitors may remove their masks when they’re with a patient in their room, but must mask when caregivers enter the room or in hallways and common areas.
  • Caregivers must wear masks in all patient-facing areas, which include patient and exam rooms, hallways, cafeterias, nurses’ stations, registration, and home visits.