MultiCare Health System will begin requiring masks in patient care areas in their facilities in Thurston, Kitsap, King, and Pierce Counties beginning December 6.
In the past week, MultiCare passed the threshold of regional emergency department visits for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), leading to the decision to initiate masking. This threshold was set by the Northwest Healthcare Response Network.
Masks will be required for patients, visitors and staff in all patient care areas located inside hospitals and emergency departments. Masking is required for MultiCare employees in patient clinics outside of hospitals and is strongly recommended but not required for patients and visitors.
We encourage everyone to be up to date on vaccines for COVID, influenza and RSV to keep our communities safe.
This fall, MultiCare Health System, along with the other members of the Northwest Healthcare Response Network — a coalition of health care systems across the state of Washington — worked together to identify metrics and develop masking guidelines for this year’s respiratory season that support both staff and patient safety.
If any one of these criteria are met in a region masking will be required as outlined below.
- COVID-19 admissions exceed 10 people per 100,000 population
- Regional emergency department (ED) visits for COVID-19 exceed 3 percent of total visits
- Regional ED visits for influenza exceed 1 percent of total visits
- Regional ED visits for RSV exceed 0.3 percent of total visits
Mandatory masking will be lifted in geographic areas that go two weeks without any of the threshold metrics being met.
Patient care areas include:
- Patient floors and hallways
- Patient exam rooms
- Front desk/check-in areas
- During any patient interactions
- Oncology clinics and waiting rooms
- Emergency departments and waiting rooms
Masks will not be required (but remain strongly recommended) in these areas:
- Public hallways (does not include hallways within patient units)
- Gift shops
- Multi-person offices
- Conference rooms