As we enter respiratory virus season, participating healthcare organizations across the Puget Sound region have released a revised consensus statement regarding an updated strategy for universal masking in healthcare facilities.   This approach seeks to balance community disease transmission rates and the operational needs of healthcare organizations in order to support staff and patient safety and to maintain the overarching goal of providing excellent patient care.

The primary focus of the regional Ad Hoc Masking Workgroup over the past several months has been to identify metrics that are reliable, available, timely and serve as indicators of community burden of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and COVID-19.  These three (3) pathogens heavily impact healthcare organizations and cause severe disease burden especially among those at high-risk.  The updated statement details those metrics and the methodology used to help guide healthcare organizations with their masking policies.

Read full revised consensus statement HERE

“We have seen the regional health care and public health leaders join together in coalition since the onset of COVID-19. The initial consensus statement on masking and the further update focused on strengthening our communities and protecting our patients, staff, and vulnerable populations. This collaborative effort highlights our region’s dedication to implementing policies based on science and best practices.” – Vicki L. Sakata, MD, FAAEM, FAAP, Senior Medical Advisor, Northwest Healthcare Response Network 

For more background to this effort, previous statements are available from March 2023 and June 2023.

Media inquiries about the Northwest Healthcare Response Network please contact pio.hecc@nwhrn.org (monitored during business hours).

Please contact healthcare facilities directly for media inquiries or statements regarding their organizational involvement or masking policies.