Good Shepherd Health Care System (GSHCS) announced on Monday that masks are no longer required for patients, visitors, or staff.
GSHCS is following the recent advisements from the Oregon Health Authority and Occupational Safety and Health Administration effective today.
Patients and visitors to Good Shepherd’s campus are encouraged to wear a mask if seeking treatment for respiratory symptoms. If an individual is sick but not seeking treatment, please avoid visiting patients in the hospital until no longer having symptoms.
Good Shepherd’s Vice President of Nursing Brian Patrick, RN, MSN, MICN, shared what the mask lifting means to Good Shepherd’s staff.
“In February 2020, we saw the masks go on,” he said. “No one at the time had any idea of what lay ahead. Only that we were scared, but we stuck together and did our jobs. In March 2022, we saw the masks come off in the public sector. It was a joyous occasion after over two years of masking and isolation for everyone. And yet, in the health care arena, workers were still laboring every day with additional Covid variants and subsequent outbreaks. Masking and Personal Protective Equipment were still the norm and it seemed like it would never be over. Exhaustion and burnout were taking their toll on the staff and the outlook at times seemed grim.”
Patrick said walking into the facility on Monday with a mask seemed foreign.
“Seeing co-workers without a mask performing everyday tasks did not seem real,” he said. “The joy in the staffs’ eyes is apparent. The ability to smile at our patients had been lost, but now is found. To feel human again. What a wonderful day it is.”
Health care workers at GSHCS who still wish to wear a mask are welcomed and encouraged to do so, said Patrick.
For questions about masks in Oregon healthcare settings, visit the Oregon Health Authority website. For questions relating to masks at GSHCS, call Infection Prevention & Employee Health at 541-667-3798. For additional information, visit the GSHCS website.