Three More New York Hospitals Reimposing Mask Mandates


A woman puts a sign saying “no face mask no entry” in a shop window on September 14, 2020 in Newport, Wales. First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has announced people in Wales must wear face mask in shops and other indoor public spaces from Monday.
(Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)


St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, New York, has reimposed a mask mandate for all emergency patients and visitors amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

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The hospital is among several Central New York hospitals, including University Hospital and Community General Hospital, to have reintroduced large-scale masking in recent weeks. The decision is part of the ongoing monitoring and response to the pandemic, which has now lasted more than three and a half years.

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The mask requirement at St. Joseph’s currently applies only to its emergency department. Emergency department employees are required to wear N95 masks, while patients and visitors must wear standard surgical masks. “Patient and staff safety is our top priority and we are monitoring the situation closely to determine the best course of action,” said spokesman Jamie Arnold.

Despite not observing a significant spike in COVID-19 cases via testing data, hospitals have reported more cases in recent weeks. This could be due to the fact that most people no longer routinely test for COVID-19, resulting in fewer reported infections. Additionally, there has been an increase in COVID-19 detection in wastewater, including around Syracuse.

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However, infection levels have not yet reached previous peaks, and Syracuse hospitals still have enough capacity to handle COVID-19 patients. There is also growing concern over the new BA.2.86 variant of COVID-19, which has the potential to evade protection from vaccines. While this variant has been confirmed in several states, it has not yet been detected in New York.


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