In what may feel like a breath of fresh air depending on what your views are, St. Luke’s University Health Network has relaxed masking requirements at all of its hospitals and other health care facilities in Pennsylvania; another sign that the coronavirus pandemic is finally easing, nearly two years after it began.
The network announced in a news release Tuesday that due to a decline in the number of COVID cases, masking is now optional for vaccinated staff members unless they are providing direct patient care; for vaccinated patients for the duration of their stay/visit in both SLUHN inpatient and outpatient facilities; and for visitors for the duration of their stay in SLUHN inpatient and outpatient facilities.
The release noted that masking is still required for unvaccinated outpatients in St. Luke’s facilities, and that visitors are still required to be vaccinated. The COVID vaccination requirement for visitors went into effect late last year, during a surge in the number of cases triggered in part by the highly transmissable omicron variant of the disease.
Optional masking areas in St. Luke’s facilities now include charting areas, nurse’s stations, corridors, cafeterias, lobbies, offices, meeting rooms and lecture rooms, the release said.
For more information about masking and other COVID-related requirements, the health network’s updated visitor policy can be found online at SLHN.org.
“Due to varying regulations in New Jersey, these changes will apply to our Pennsylvania facilities only for now,” the SLUHN news release said.