HCN News & Notes

Local Health Systems Update Mask Policies with End of Public Health Emergency

SPRINGFIELD — In conjunction with the end of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Emergency on May 11, which coincides with the end of the federal public-health emergency, both Baystate Health and Trinity Health Of New England are announcing major changes regarding masking.

At Baystate, masks will now be optional for visitors (also referred to as care partners), as well as staff, which includes inpatient-care areas at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, and Baystate Wing Hospital in Palmer, as well as all medical practices and outpatient services.

However, the use of masks, other personal protective equipment, and isolation precautions for patients who have COVID-19 or other contagious diseases will not change.

While masks are now optional, they will be available for visitors to use at their own discretion. Also, if patients prefer, they can request that caregivers wear a mask while delivering clinical care.

All visitors must adhere to Baystate Health infection-control practices that are in effect throughout the health system, including self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms. If a visitor self-screens positively for symptoms or a diagnosis of COVID-19 infection in the past 10 days, they will not be allowed to enter the facility.

At Trinity Health’s Massachusetts-based facilities, including Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, as well as medical practices and outpatient services, masks are now optional, but this updated masking policy includes some exceptions, requiring certain individuals to continue to mask.

Specifically, masks are required for individuals who have had a close-contact exposure with someone with COVID-19. Masks are required for 10 days following the exposure. Masks are also required for any individual who has not been vaccinated for the flu during this flu season, until the flu season is declared over.

This updated masking policy is now in effect in all inpatient units, emergency departments, and ambulatory-care areas (outpatient facilities) within the Trinity Health Of New England system. All healthcare workers and providers will continue to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment when caring for patients who are designated to be on droplet/airborne precautions.