Glendive Medical Center Loosens Mask Mandate Per CDC Guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently loosened several pandemic infection control recommendations in healthcare delivery settings and specified guidance in relation to long-term care settings. Included in this guidance, vaccination status no longer determines whether healthcare workers should screen, quarantine, or mask.

In settings where healthcare workers could encounter a patient, the agency no longer recommends masking for those in communities without high levels of COVID-19 spread. COVID-19 screening is now “at the discretion of the healthcare facility.”

Based on this new guidance and the drastic downward trend of COVID-19 cases since August, Glendive Medical Center has revised their policies and protocols to make masking optional for patients and staff in their facilities, excluding long-term care (Extended Care, Eastern Montana Veterans Home), the operating room, and any area where there is direct contact with a patient who has Covid-19. Masking stations, however, will remain at entrances for anyone who wishes to wear a mask.

Long-term care facilities, including extended care and Eastern Montana Veterans Home fall under the guidance of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) which adhere to stricter source control regulations. These areas will continue to require staff to continue to mask. Visitors will have the option of masking in these areas.

“We received the news of the guidance last week and after careful consideration, feel removing the masks is a safe decision for our organization and community considering the low cases in our county,” stated Parker Powell, CEO, “should we have an uptick in cases, we will revisit our policies and protocols again to ensure we continue to keep our patients and staff safe.”