Mandatory wearing of face masks in hospitals and clinical settings has officially ended following a recommendation by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.
fter three years of stringent regulations since the COVID pandemic started in 2020, masks were considered a key part in reducing transmission of the virus.
Management at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) today welcomed the fact healthcare workers were no longer required – outside of periods of high levels of community transmission – to wear a mask.
The advice is still for masks to be worn in cases of respiratory illness. However, the ending of mandatory mask wearing is seen as a positive sign of entering a post-COVID phase.
Patients are not required to wear masks but must be facilitated if they wish to wear one.
The HSE say masks are still required as a means of transmission-based precaution and where there remains a risk between patient and healthcare worker.
UHK say it will continue to support the requirement for all patients and staff to be fully vaccinated and that boosters are up to date.
General Manager of UHK Mary Fitzgerald expressed her support for the decision stating it is a positive step towards a return to normality in the hospital.
She explained that mandatory wearing of masks had been a necessary precaution, which was challenging for patients and staff.
“As always, we will continue to follow the guidance of the HSE and implement any necessary measures to ensure the safety of our patients and staff,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our staff, patients, and visitors for their compliance and cooperation in wearing masks over the past number of years,” she added.
“Your dedication to following public health guidelines has helped to keep our hospitals safe and protect vulnerable patients from the virus,” said Ms Fitzgerald.