Franciscan Health to make masks optional at all facilities

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 1:35 PM EDT
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - Franciscan Health is making updates to its masking policies at all facilities in Indiana and Illinois.

The healthcare ministry announced Friday that all Indiana facilities will be mask optional effective this upcoming Monday, March 27. Meanwhile, all Illinois facilities will be mask optional effective April 3.

Beginning on those dates, masks will be optional for visitors, patients, and staff, with some exceptions. Masking will be required where it is part of the routine infection-control process.

For instance, staff caring for COVID-positive and COVID-suspected patients will be required to wear N95 masks, as will those performing high-risk procedures related to the COVID virus, such as intubation. Patients can also request Franciscan staff members wear a mask during their health care encounters.

If visitors or patients have existing symptoms or exposure, they will be encouraged to mask. Visitor information and masks will be available at all facilities.

While Franciscan Health is relaxing its masking policies, the healthcare ministry will continue to strongly encourage social distancing as well as hand and respiratory hygiene.

Franciscan says it is taking these steps in accordance with the guidance of local, state, and federal public health officials, as well as the expertise of its own vice presidents of medical affairs for each location.

If a COVID resurgence calls for a return to masking, Franciscan says it may change these protocols in the future.

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