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Samaritan returns to mask-optional policy at most locations

in Health 271 views

Samaritan Medical Center announced Wednesday that it will return to mask-optional guidelines effective immediately in most locations for staff, patients and visitors.

The hospital had been requiring masks in each of its locations since late August following an increase in positive COVID-19 cases in the community.

There are, however, some exceptions to the mask-optional policy. Masks will still be required in the emergency department and long-term care facilities.

Samaritan said in a statement that the decision to continue to require masks at those locations comes from seeing an increase in positive cases among residents in the long-term care setting and the increased risk associated with patient and employee illness and/or exposure in the emergency department environment.

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Masks returning to Samaritan Health System

in Health 223 views

Samaritan Health System announced in a news release on Thursday that masking will be required in all locations for staff, patients and visitors until further notice.

Samaritan said the decision comes after seeing an increase in positive COVID-19 cases in emergency department patients, hospital inpatients, employee cases, Jefferson County numbers of positive COVID-19 cases overall and local wastewater testing.

Visitation will not change at this time, but if a visitor chooses not to wear a mask, they will not be allowed to visit a patient or resident.

“The goal is to keep the number of positive cases in our community minimal,” the news release states. “Samaritan is doing its part to protect our patients, residents, and staff, just as other facilities across the state and nation are doing.”

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Watertown residents respond to lift of state’s mask-or-vax rule

in Health/Local Business/Local News 584 views

WATERTOWN — Whether they are pro-mask or not, people seem ready to leave the decision to require masks be worn in public up to individuals and not the state.

A half-dozen people interviewed at random in Watertown on Wednesday, shortly after Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul announced that the requirement to enter a business with a mask or proof of COVID-19 vaccination would be lifted on Thursday, said they’ve always understood why wearing masks is important.

They all said they have taken COVID-19 seriously and have taken precautions like masking and getting vaccinated. Still, most felt the requirement was a driver of tension, and that it’s time to leave it up to the bar owner, hardware store or gas station — and they would respect what the sign on the door says with or without a state requirement.

“If you feel comfortable wearing one then wear it,” said Ron DaLuke, a Watertown resident. “I’ll wear mine if I remember it. As far as it being enforced, that’s a pretty tough deal to say ‘You have to wear this.’”

He said he understands that wearing a mask protects others, but now is not the right time to get combative with those who don’t wear masks.

“Are you going to walk into the store and because a person there isn’t wearing a mask, are you going to go over there and punch them?” he said. “No, you wear your mask, keep your distance and just go about your business.”

Amanda Fuller, a lifelong Watertown resident, is sick of the masks, but she has a child whose immune system is compromised.

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