Lewis County Health System announces masking update

News release

LOWVILLE, NY  ─ Effective Tuesday, February 14, 2023, employees, providers, patients, residents, and visitors will no longer be required to wear masks at Lewis County General Hospital, the Residential Health Care Facility, or affiliated health centers as long as the County transmission rates remain moderate or low.

This decision was based on the recent change of guidance from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for using face masks and face coverings in healthcare facilities. This includes the hospital, nursing home, physician offices, home healthcare, and hospice agencies.

“The Health System is committed to providing a safe environment for our staff, patients, and residents,” stated Dr. Sean Harney, Chief Medical Officer of Employed Practices at Lewis County Health System. “We will continue to use the NYSDOH source for COVID-19 data. The data is updated daily and is based upon the 7-day average of positive cases and percent of positive tests by county. Based on Department of Health numbers, Lewis County is currently at moderate transmission.”

Upon entrance to Lewis County Health System or any of our affiliate health centers, visitors will notice signage informing them of the current masking requirements. We ask that all visitors and staff follow the masking requirements as posted to ensure a safe environment for patients, visitors, and staff.

Dr. Harney says, “If Lewis County’s transmission rate rise to high COVID transmission levels potentially affecting public safety, masking will be reintroduced, and a notice posted at facility entrances indicating that patients, visitors, volunteers, and staff need to wear a face mask until levels return to moderate or lower.”

If a visitor or patient exhibits respiratory symptoms, masks are always encouraged to help protect others.

According to Deb Mullin, RN, Infection Prevention, LCHS is updating its policies and procedure to reflect the masking change. “Masks will still be available at Hospital entrances and provider offices for individuals that choose to continue masking as masking is a personal choice for everyone.”

Lewis County Health System thanks the community for their patience and support as we work to ensure patient safety and navigate through ongoing changes relating to the pandemic.