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Essentia Health moving to voluntary masking in most situations



Fargo, North Dakota – At one nearby hospital, mandatory masking seems to be losing favor.

Essentia Health announces that it will switch to a voluntary masking policy for the majority of employees, patients, and visitors after carefully evaluating the situation of COVID-19. Hospitals, medical offices, and home health care providers must comply with this modification beginning on Monday, April 3.

“As the disease has evolved, we are seeing fewer deaths and hospitalizations related to the virus. Additionally, the current availability of COVID-19 vaccines and effective treatments has improved,” said Essentia Health External Communications Manager Louie St. George in a statement released to WDAY Radio. “We will still encourage masks for anyone who has symptoms consistent with a COVID-19 infection, a COVID-19 exposure or other infectious respiratory illnesses.”

Essentia’s long-term care/nursing home facilities and assisted living institutions are exempt from voluntary masking and will continue to assess masking policies individually. The hospice personnel will abide by the rules of any facilities they visit.

Masks will continue to be accessible at building entrances. Visitors to COVID-19 patients must adhere to our visitor standards and staff members caring for COVID-19 patients or suspected COVID-19 patients must still wear full personal protective equipment.

Patients have the option to demand that their doctor or other members of their care team wear masks.