News & Media

Masking in Clinical Areas Returns Ahead of Respiratory Virus Season

September 20, 2023

The Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (HPHA) is updating our masking guidelines ahead of the respiratory season in anticipation of increased spread of influenza, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and COVID-19.

Effective Wednesday, September 20, 2023 masking will be required when in any clinical area of our hospitals and recommended, but not required, in non-clinical areas. Hospital-provided medical grade masks will be provided with masking stations set up throughout HPHA hospital sites, not just at entrances.

“Masks continue to be a key tool for infection prevention and control,” says Erica Jensen, Manager Quality, Patient Safety and Infection Control. “Currently the rate of COVID-19 and test positivity rates are higher in our area than in others throughout the province. We are also seeing an increase in respiratory outbreaks, including our own recent COVID-19 outbreak, so the decision has been made to return to masking in clinical areas to help keep our patients and team members safe from hospital-acquired respiratory infections.”

What This Means for Our Patients, Staff, Physicians, Families/Caregivers and Visitors

Masking is Required in Clinical Areas
Masking is required in all clinical areas where patient care is provided. This includes:
  • Inpatient Units
  • Emergency Departments
  • Outpatient Clinics
  • Imaging
  • Lab
  • Waiting Rooms
Masking is recommended, but not required, in Non-Clinical Areas
Masking is recommended, but not required, in public spaces and non-clinical areas. This includes:
  • Hallways
  • Elevators
  • Cafeterias
  • Meeting Rooms
  • Administrative Offices
“Clinical areas that require masking will be clearly marked,” adds Jensen. “If you are not sure, wear a mask. If you feel sick or have symptoms of illness, you are strongly encouraged to wear a mask in all areas of our hospitals. If you are family member or caregiver who is feeling unwell, it is advised that you postpone your visit with your loved one until you are feeling better.”

It is also important to note that Universal Masking may be reintroduced based on disease activity, during respiratory season and for outbreak management.