As Respiratory Illness Season Peaks, Beebe Healthcare Requiring Masks at All Locations

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Starting 7 a.m. Friday, Beebe Healthcare will require patients, visitors, and team members to wear surgical masks at all locations.

As the region heads into the height of respiratory illness season, Beebe leaders made this decision in the interest of safety for patients, visitors, and team members to help slow transmission amidst this seasonal rise in cases. This decision aligns with dozens of healthcare systems across the country like Cleveland Clinic, and many within Delaware.

For Beebe, universal masking applies to all hospitals, emergency departments, cancer centers, outpatient locations, and all Beebe Medical Group practices.

Hospitalized patients will be allowed to remove masks in their rooms but will be required to wear them elsewhere. Visitors may only remove their masks when eating in the cafeteria and should refrain from eating in patient rooms. This masking requirement does not change the number of visitors a patient can have. A surgical mask or higher level of protection such as a N95 respirator is required.

“At Beebe Healthcare, safety of our patients and caregivers must always remain our top priority,” said David A. Tam, MD, MBA, CPHE, FACHE, President & CEO, Beebe Healthcare. “We do not take this decision lightly because we understand the impact that masking can have on our community and team members. We must follow the evidence of our data and the guidance from our infection prevention experts. Thank you for your consideration and kindness toward our team members who will be here for you throughout the respiratory illness season.”

Like most of the country, Beebe campuses went mask optional in April as respiratory illness season came to an end. While COVID-19 typically receives the most attention, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza can cause hospitalization, which is more likely for older adults with certain health conditions as well as young children.

“Beebe leaders are making this recommendation based on the data we track for community spread of our three main respiratory illnesses, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and COVID-19,” said Bill Chasanov, DO, Infectious Disease Physician and Chief Health System Design Officer. “Beebe undoubtedly remains a safe place to receive care. We are taking masking measures to protect our community and caregivers, so they can continue to provide safe, high-quality care.”

Beebe infection prevention experts will continue to monitor the local spread of respiratory illnesses in order to make an evidence-based decision of when masking requirements may end.

Talk to your primary care provider about staying up to date on all three vaccines (RSV, flu, COVID-19). Need a primary care provider? Call 302-645-3332 for an appointment.

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