Spencer Hospital Shares New Visitor, Masking Guidelines

posted on Friday, October 14, 2022 in COVID-19

In accordance with new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Spencer Hospital has updated its visitor policy and mask protocols effective immediately.

At this time, the requirement to wear masks within Spencer Hospital and its affiliated clinics is based on the CDC’s Community Transmission Levels for Clay County and the hospital’s census of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 care.

When community transmission levels for Clay County are reported as low, moderate or substantial, patients and visitors can choose whether or not to mask based on their personal preference, unless they are required to mask due to any of the following conditions:

  • The patient or visitor is experiencing respiratory or cold-like symptoms
  • The patient or visitor has tested positive for COVID within the last 10 days
  • Or, the person has had a known COVID exposure within the last 10 days

If the CDC reports that community transmission rates are “high” in Clay County or the hospital’s census of COVID patients is high, all employees and on-site vendors must mask in public and patient care areas of the hospital or one of the affiliated clinics. Patients and visitors may mask at their own discretion. 

Currently, the CDC reports the community transmission level in Clay County is low. Most patients and visitors may choose to wear a mask or not based on their personal preference; however, masking is required if the person is experiencing respiratory or cold symptoms, has tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 10 days, or had a known exposure to COVID within the past 10 days. Disposable masks are available at each entrance. The CDC reports are updated weekly. Each Friday Spencer Hospital will update its masking guidelines based on the CDC’s reported levels for Clay County.

Masking guidelines for hospital and clinic staff members are similar to the requirements for the public, yet have some additional criteria. When rates are low, moderate or substantial, hospital and clinics staff members can choose to wear masks based on personal preference unless they meet any of the following criteria, and if so, they must wear masks:

  • Are experiencing respiratory or cold-like symptoms
  • Have been diagnosed with or have a known exposure to COVID-19 within the last 10 days
  • Are caring for moderately or severely immunocompromised patients
  • Work in an area of the facility that is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak
  • Or, based on standard precautions and infection control policies

When transmission levels are high in Clay County, or when the number of patients with COVID-19 diagnosis are being treated at Spencer Hospital, all employees must mask when in the presence of employees and visitors and in patient care and public areas of the hospital.

Previously, the number of visitors for patients at Spencer Hospital was been limited in order to decrease potential viral exposures. Visitor guidelines have returned to pre-COVID breakout levels. Please be aware that some areas of the hospital limit visitors for optimal patient care, or have posted “quiet hours” for their patients. For unit-specific visitor guidelines, please visit the hospital website at www.spencerhospital.org.

As always, do not visit if you have an infectious illness, such as a cold, flu, COVID, pink eye, etc. Also, be mindful of the patient’s health and stamina. While visits from friends and family can be beneficial, patients also need rest to promote healing.