Aug 27, 2023

UMass Memorial reinstates staff mask mandate after 'dramatic increase' in COVID cases

By WBZ-News Staff

Updated on: August 25, 2023 / 5:13 PM / CBS Boston

WORCESTER - With COVID cases and hospitalizations climbing, UMass Memorial is bringing back a mask mandate for staff when interacting with patients.

"We have continued to see a dramatic increase in the number of COVID-19 positive employees over the past two weeks, which has led to exposures of both fellow caregivers and patients," a memo sent to staff on Thursday stated. "In response to this, as a protective measure for our staff and patients, effective immediately we are requiring mandatory caregiver masking for all patient encounters in all licensed clinical areas."

The Worcester hospital says that if the trend continues, it may need to require masks for anyone who enters the building. They will re-evaluate the mandate in four weeks, "unless worsening conditions dictate otherwise."

"Please know that these changes are not made lightly and we know how that a return to masking may be upsetting for some of our caregivers," the hospital said.

Nationwide, the CDC says new hospitalizations jumped 21.6% in the past week. The agency is also tracking a new, highly mutated COVID variant called BA.2.86 that experts think might fuel further spread.

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First published on August 25, 2023 / 1:56 PM

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