TOPEKA (KSNT) – In an announcement made on Thursday, Stormont Vail Health will no longer be requiring masks for patients, visitors or team members.

This comes as part of new, updated guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which removed the recommendation of universal masking in healthcare settings. However, if a facility is located in an area of high COVID-19 transmission, it will still be required to implement masking.

Facemasks are not required when the community transmission rate is below the “HIGH” level. Shawnee County currently sits in at a “LOW” transmission level. Masking at Stormont is required for individuals who:

  • A person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or respiratory infection. Team members are still expected to complete their minimum five-day isolation period when testing positive for COVID-19. Example: If a team member meets isolation release criteria and returns to work on day six then it is expected they will wear a mask through day ten from symptom onset.
  • A person who has had close contact or high-risk exposure to someone with COVID must wear a mask for ten days after exposure.
  • Team members who work in a unit or location where there is an on-going and/or high rate of COVID-19 transmission as determined by Stormont Vail Health.
  • Team members who are unvaccinated. This includes those with approved medical and religious/moral exemptions. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires us to have a process for ensuring the implementation of additional precautions, intended to mitigate the transmission and spread of COVID-19, for all staff who are not fully vaccinated. The continuation of masks for those who are not fully vaccination is in response to that requirement as well as to be in alignment with the Flu vaccination policy.

Visitation guidelines are as follows:

  • Visitation for non-COVID patient has no limitations.
  • Visitation for COVID-19 positive patients, limited to two people at a time and visitors will receive information to ensure awareness of risk, personal protection equipment needs, hand hygiene and to refrain from traveling throughout the organization after leaving patient room.

The screening process at entrances for visitors and team members will remain the same as current practice.