CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Next time you go to the doctor, it may look a little different. Some healthcare facilities are still requiring masks, others are saying goodbye after two and half years.
Gov. Pritzker is adjusting masking rules in the state. They’re now in line with CDC recommendations.
The rules are a little different anywhere you go. Carle, OSF and HSHS are not changing yet, masks are still required in their facilities. But, Christie Clinic, Kirby Medical Center and Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center are not requiring them for now.
That could change if transmission rates are high.
“We really just wanted to have a uniform policy and something everybody could understand,” Steve Tenhouse, Kirby Medical Center’s CEO, said.
“We have let our employees and the community know that you’re no longer required to mask when you come into the hospital,” he added.
The CDC guidance explains that face coverings are not required in healthcare facilities, but are recommended in areas with high transmission rates.
In Illinois, the Department of Public Health’s website shows all counties are either at low or medium levels.
Tenhouse said at Kirby, there are some exceptions.
“We are asking any visitors or any patients that are coming to the hospital that might have a respiratory condition if they could wear a mask,” he said.
Meanwhile, at HSHS facilities, Marc Shelton, the Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, said they’ve recently allowed more visitors, but masks are still required.
He wants to see transmission levels even lower.
“We’re around patients who are still at high risk because of immunocompromise. We’ve got to do what we can to protect them,” Shelton said.
He said hospitals are different than other places such as the grocery store.
“Whether they’re on chemo, whether they have inherent immunocompromized issues such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, there are a lot of reasons they may be high risk,” he said.
But Tenhouse said at Kirby, they recognize that as well.
“If we’ve got patients that are immunocompromised in the hospital, our clinical staff will wear masks when they’re around them,” he said.
If you feel more comfortable with a mask, Kirby also has some at their facilities for you. Tenhouse said if transmission rates increase and reach the high level, they will reverse the rules and require masks.