Patients and visitors may use disposable face masks or cloth masks with multiple layers, and the masks must fit snugly around the nose, over the mouth and under the chin. Bandannas, gaiters, face shields and face masks with valves are not permitted.
For hospital inpatients, face masks may only be removed if:
• The patient is actively eating or drinking and is physically distant – at least six feet – from anyone who does not live in the patient’s household.
• The patient is alone in a private room.
• The patient is physically distant – at least six feet – from others in a shared room.
• The care being provided to the patient cannot be done with a mask on.
For outpatients, such as in Samaritan’s clinics and laboratories, face masks must be worn the entire time they are in the building and may only be removed if the care being provided cannot be done with a mask on.
Exemptions to these masking requirements include children younger than 2 years old, patients whose clinician has determined that they cannot wear a mask due to shortness of breath, and patients who are unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
“The updated requirements are in alignment with the best information we have about the virus that causes COVID-19 and how it spreads,” said Adam Brady, MD, of Samaritan Infectious Disease. “We want to ensure we are doing everything we can to limit the spread of COVID-19 and provide safe health care.”
For more information about Samaritan Health Services response to COVID-19, visit samhealth.org/Coronavirus.