TOPEKA (KSNT) – Stormont Vail Health will bring back masking protocols on Friday following an increase in COVID-19 transmission rates in the local area.

The announcement was made on Thursday by the hospital in response to an steady increase in community transmission of COVID-19. Stakeholders with the hospital recommended the return to enhanced personal protective equipment guidelines.

Staff will be required to wear face masks in areas where patients are present, but will not be required to wear them in areas restricted to patient access. Visitors and patients will be required to wear masks in clinics and hospitals.

Stormont Vail dropped their mask requirements on Oct. 6 with some exceptions following new information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now that Shawnee County and surrounding areas are considered to be in the “high” community transmission level, masks are once again required.