Sentara Healthcare will no longer require masking in healthcare facilities
Masks will still be strongly encouraged, and available, for all patients and visitors
Harrisonburg, VA – The Sentara COVID-19 Task Force has closely monitored COVID-19 activity for the past three years across our communities, using scientific data and the highest safety standards to guide our decisions throughout the pandemic. Currently, health systems across the country are seeing a steady decrease in COVID-19, RSV, and flu patients - the three respiratory viruses that triggered a surge in emergency department visits and hospitalizations last fall.
After much consideration, we believe it is safe and appropriate to relax masking requirements across our healthcare facilities.
Effective tomorrow March 21, 2023, patients, visitors, and team members will no longer be required to wear a mask at all times within our healthcare facilities. Exceptions include:
• Patients who are seeking treatment for a viral illness such as COVID-19 or the flu should continue to wear a mask to prevent spreading the virus to others.
• Healthcare workers treating patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 must still wear the appropriate level of personal protective equipment (PPE) required.
All healthcare professionals will continue to follow infection prevention protocols. Health systems will continue to monitor respiratory illness activity within our communities.
While we continue to evolve our COVID-19 policies, our priority remains the safety of our team members, patients, and community. Masks will continue to be an important tool, along with vaccinations, to keep people healthy and safe. Masks will still be available to patients and visitors who enter our facilities.
Additionally, our healthcare colleagues can still wear a mask if they choose to do so.
We are grateful to our healthcare colleagues, patients, and visitors for their cooperation in following important public health measures during the pandemic to protect one another.
Sentara Healthcare, an integrated, not-for-profit health care delivery system, celebrates more than 130 years in pursuit of its mission – “we improve health every day.” Sentara is one of the largest health systems in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, and among the top 20 largest not-for-profit integrated health systems in the country, with 30,000 employees, 12 hospitals in Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina, and the Sentara Health Plans division which serves more than 1.2 million members in Virginia and Florida.
Sentara is recognized nationally for clinical quality and safety, and is strategically focused on innovation and creating an extraordinary health care experience for our patients and members. Sentara was named to IBM Watson Health’s “Top 15 Health Systems” (2021, 2018), and was recognized by Forbes as a “Best Employer for New Grads” (2022), “Best Employer for Veterans” (2022), and “Best Employer for Women” (2020).