Home » UnityPoint Health lifts COVID restrictions, mask requirements | News, Sports, Jobs – Fort Dodge Messenger

UnityPoint Health lifts COVID restrictions, mask requirements | News, Sports, Jobs – Fort Dodge Messenger

by Arifa Rana

Apr 16, 2022
It’s a day that just two years ago, many people thought might never come. UnityPoint Health has lifted its mask requirements and visitor restrictions put in place in early 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leah Glasgo, chief executive officer for UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge, said the change in policy is due to the currently low COVID-19 transmission rates in Webster County and across the state.
“Masking was the right thing to do for the last couple of years, and it’s been hard,” said Kari Jones, chief nursing executive. “It’s not easy to take care of patients when you want to interact with them and be personable and you have to wear a mask.”
UnityPoint Health team members will continue to mask when providing direct patient care, but they won’t be required to wear the masks continuously throughout the day. Glasgo also said some specific settings will still require masks, including areas treating respiratory illnesses, the cancer center and with other immunocompromised patients.
Staff at UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center have enjoyed the last couple days since the mask requirement was lifted.
“It feels good to walk around and see each other smile,” Jones said. “We’re really grateful to be able to see each other again. It’s really a milestone in the pandemic and also in our recovery efforts.”
Staff, patients and visitors can still choose to wear a mask, even without the requirement.
“This is at an individual comfort level, so some team members who maybe have family members who are immunocompromised, they may continue to mask just for the safety of their family,” said Shannon McQuillen, vice president of people excellence.
The patient visitor restrictions have also been lifted.
For patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, visitors will be limited to two per day and those visitors must be 18 years or older and follow specific isolation guidance during visitation.
Though the mask requirement and visitor restrictions have been lifted, it does not mean they won’t be implemented again.
“We have a policy now that will flow with the transmission rate in our region and in our state, so we will adapt back to the masking policy should we need it,” Glasgo said.
Currently, in Webster County, transmission of COVID-19 is considered “low.” If the transmission rate rises to “moderate” or higher, it will trigger the masking policy.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, there have been just eight new cases of COVID-19 reported in Webster County in the last week.
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