Low COVID-19 transmission levels guided decision to roll back some mask requirements at UnityPoint

Low COVID-19 transmission rates drove UnityPoint hospitals in eastern Iowa to alter their indoor mask mandates.
Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 9:21 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Masks are no longer required in most situations at UnityPoint hospitals in eastern Iowa, including St. Luke’s in Cedar Rapids, Allen Hospital in Waterloo and Finley Hospital in Dubuque.

“Due to lower community transmission and very low numbers of patients being admitted with a COVID diagnosis and being in isolation with COVID, we thought that it was time to relax our masking mandate,” Mary Peters, Finley Hospital’s chief nursing officer, explained. In its last update, Dubuque County reported two people hospitalized with the virus.

Unvaccinated people are still asked to wear a mask at all times. However, anyone vaccinated, including staff, do not have to wear a mask as long as they are not involved in direct care.

Peters said patients are still required to wear masks when they come in direct contact with a health care provider.

“If you are coming in for a chest X-ray, when you come into the facility you do not necessarily have to have a mask on, but when you get called back to that X-ray room, the X-ray tech is going to have their mask on and we are going to ask the patient to put the mask on because there is close interaction between two individuals,” she mentioned.

Peters said the hospital recognizes some people are more at risk than others. She added that is why they have decided in some areas, like oncology for example, staff, patients and visitors will be required to wear masks at all times.

Finley Hospital is also changing its visitation guidelines. Peters explained they are now allowing two visitors per patient. However, visitors must wear a mask when they go see patients in a room.

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