OHA Announces End to Universal Masking Requirement in Health Care Settings, Effective April 3
|The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced today that it will end its universal masking requirement for health care settings, which includes all licensed long term care settings, on April 3. Oregon’s policy change will occur in concert with similar changes in other states, including Washington.
It is expected that masking will still be required during specified outbreaks. Detailed guidance will be determined by OHA and the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) and will be shared soon. Visit the Oregon Health Care Association website for all updates.
OHCA has advocated on behalf of members with the Governor’s office, OHA, and ODHS to move away from universal masking policies. Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction for providers, caregivers, residents, and their families as we move away from pandemic-era policies and restrictions. OHCA is continuing conversations with state regulators regarding modifications to other COVID-19 protocols. We will keep members informed of any updates.
Please note, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) still expects nursing facilities to follow core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention including guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Per QSO-20-39-NH, everyone in a nursing facility should wear face coverings or masks if the nursing facility’s county COVID-19 community transmission is high. If the nursing facility’s county COVID-19 community transmission is not high and there is no outbreak, the facility’s policies on masking should be based on recommendations from the CDC, state, and local health departments as well as the individual facility’s circumstances. It is important to remember CDC’s community transmission level is the metric used by CDC to guide health care settings, not CDC’s COVID-19 community level. A facility choosing to set their own mask policies should continue to take into account the need to accommodate medical and religious exemptions.
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