Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)

Providence Swedish tightens COVID, mask policy

Citing a rise in respiratory illness, local hospitals and clinics will require masks for care.

EVERETT — Masks are back at all Providence Swedish locations, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.

Starting Tuesday, all hospitals and clinics will require patients, visitors and workers to wear masks where care is provided. Facilities will continue to require self-symptom screening at patient and visitor entrances.

Providence Swedish made the decision to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The health and safety of our patients and caregivers is our top priority,” Swedish said in a statement Saturday. “These restrictions will be in place until COVID-19 transmission is no longer a threat to our community, or until guidance from public health authorities change.”

Snohomish County recommends universal masking in care settings when predetermined “transmission alert thresholds” are met. As of Nov. 25, COVID-related emergency department visits in the county remained under the COVID-19 alert threshold of 3%, according to county data.

Visits for influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) — two illnesses with an overall spike in transmission rates in the county — have met or passed the threshold for those illnesses.

Masks are required in all Providence Swedish clinics, as well as:

• Hospital inpatient units;

• Nursing stations;

• Exam rooms;

• Waiting rooms for emergencies, organ donations and cancer care; and

• At front desks and check-in locations.

Masks are not required in public spaces such as general waiting rooms, lobbies, gift shops and cafeterias.

Patients with viral respiratory symptoms are required to wear masks in all areas. Patients who are immunocompromised or otherwise high-risk are also required to wear masks.

Visitors will be allowed if they agree they have not shown COVID-19 symptoms in 24 hours, have no known exposure within the last 10 days and follow masking guidelines. Providence Swedish facilities are limiting visitation for COVID-19 patients to two essential caretakers, or those required for a patient’s physical, psychological and emotional health. In hospitals and emergency care settings, visitors for COVID patients are not allowed unless approved on a case-by-case basis.

“Providence Regional Medical Center has adjusted our visitor policy to keep our patients, visitors, and caregivers safe while supporting our patients and their families,” Providence said in a statement. “We continue to monitor the COVID cases in our community and in the hospital and will adjust our visitor policy accordingly.”

COVID-19 transmission and related hospital visits in the county remain low on the spectrum, with under 10 new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 people as of Nov. 25. The state has seen 200 COVID-related deaths in the 2023-24 flu season so far, a 42% decrease compared to the same time last year.

Sydney Jackson: 425-339-3430; sydney.jackson@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @_sydneyajackson.

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