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Samaritan to Return to Mask-Optional in Most Locations

Published on: October 25, 2023

Watertown, NY – For weeks Samaritan’s infection prevention team has been researching facemask guidelines from other facilities and discussing with leadership to determine if Samaritan should make a change to its source control guidelines. After thorough consideration of risks associated with COVID-19 illness, review of metrics and trends across the organization and county, and in collaboration with key department leaders, Samaritan has determined the organization will return to mask-optional on Wednesday, October 25, 2023, in most locations for staff, patients, and visitors, with exceptions. 

The emergency department and long-term care facilities will remain facemask required. This decision comes from seeing an increase in positive cases among residents in the long term care setting and the increased risk associated with patient and employee illness and/or exposure in the emergency department environment.

The remaining locations will use an outbreak approach to mandatory facemask use. Visitors, patients, and employees may be asked to mask in various locations if there is an outbreak in that specific location. Visitors will be notified upon entry if the location they are visiting is masked for the day. Visitors who refuse to wear a facemask in a mask-required area will be asked to leave. At this time, there has been no change in visitation.

Any further updates to this change will be added to

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