Masks are still required to be worn at NMC and in other healthcare settings around Vermont. NMC has received some questions about why that is the case and so we are offering some information to help the community understand the approach.
Vaccinations work very well to reduce the severity and risk of death of COVID, and we at NMC are thankful for that. We have seen a true reduction in hospitalized cases, severity, and death here at NMC and in Vermont since vaccination began.
However, not everyone is vaccinated (or can be vaccinated), so there is still risk for them. Here in Vermont, that’s about 1 in 5 people over the age of 12. People who are vaccinated can actually still transmit the virus to others, hence the need for vaccinated individuals to wear masks in certain settings (like hospitals and physician offices) to protect others. For the immune-compromised and those with chronic diseases, the risk are still very concerning.
Given this, and given the lag in vaccination in other states where the risks are much higher and the prevalence remains concerning, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are directing healthcare organizations to continue to require the use of masks for patients and visitors, as well as for staff in patient care and public areas. This reduces the risk of transmission and helps keep the most vulnerable in our community who are seeking care at the hospital safer.