Chatham-Kent Health Alliance to Implement Changes to Mandatory Masking Policy
CHATHAM-KENT: April 13, 2023 – Based upon the most recent Public Health of Ontario guidance, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) is amending its masking policy for patients, visitors, staff, physicians and volunteers who enter a CKHA facility effective Monday, April 17, 2023 at 12:01 a.m.
Near the outset of the pandemic, mandatory masking within all areas of the hospital was implemented to slow transmission of the COVID-19 virus. With virus transmission levels at an all-time low and to better align with community protocols, changes to CKHA’s masking policy will now require staff and physicians to wear masks only when within 2 metres of any patient in a clinical area unless there is a physical barrier present. Exceptions to this will apply when patients are under additional precautions and/or a unit is in an active outbreak. It remains recommended that visitors mask when within 2 metres of patients.
Additionally, visitors, patients, staff, physicians and volunteers will not be required to wear a mask in non-clinical areas, such as CKHA’s main lobbies, waiting areas, cafeteria and elevators. Masking in waiting rooms and lounges in high-risk areas such as Oncology, Dialysis and the Emergency Department remains a requirement for visitors and patients. Masks will continue to be required for visitors within 2 metres of patients in the aforementioned high-risk areas.
“The changes to our masking policy recognize that going forward we will live with COVID-19 for years to come. Following the latest provincial Public Health guidance, our updated masking guidelines will give some relief to our staff, physicians, volunteers, patients and visitors,” said Lori Marshall, President and CEO, CKHA. “We continue to focus on mitigating risk for our most vulnerable patients and will continue to monitor our outbreak frequency, hospitalizations, intensive care admissions and community transmission of the virus.”
CKHA will continue to support all patients, visitors and staff if they wish to wear a mask in any CKHA hospital and/or facility. Medical grade masks will continue to be available at public entrances of both the Chatham and Wallaceburg sites.
COVID-19 is primarily spread through droplets or via respiratory aerosols in close contact or proximity with an infected person. Transmission can further be reduced by staying home when feeling unwell. CKHA continues to encourage individuals experiencing symptoms to stay home when possible, wear a medical grade mask and practice good hand hygiene.