GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Several North Carolina health care providers are no longer requiring patients and guests to wear face masks, except in certain circumstances.
As of Tuesday morning, masks are optional at Atrium Health, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, CaroMont Health, Cone Health, Novant Health and Randolph Health facilities. The regional health care systems made the decision jointly.
Cone Health said in a news release that the systems made this decision as there are “fewer cases of COVID-19 requiring hospital level care.”
“In looking at the case rates across our region, our communities have sufficient immunity against COVID-19 — either through vaccination, natural infection or a combination of both — to support the lifting of universal masking requirements in our hospitals and clinics,” said Dr. Christopher Ohl, infectious disease expert at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist and professor of infectious diseases at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. “This is an important step in resuming a sense of normalcy in our society, but we should all respect the fact that some people in our communities and health care settings will choose to continue to wear a mask due to their personal situations.”
Novant Health emphasized that everyone should consider their personal risk when deciding whether to wear a face mask. Patients can ask their care teams to wear masks during treatment and clinic visits.
Masks will still be required when patients have respiratory virus symptoms — fever, headaches/body aches/pain, cough, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea — and in treatment areas for high-risk patients.
Anyone experiencing respiratory virus symptoms should not visit patients in hospitals to avoid spreading illnesses.