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Major Massachusetts health system brings back masks amid surge in respiratory illnesses – Boston 25 News

BOSTON — A major Massachusetts health system says it’s bringing back masks because of higher rates of respiratory illnesses in the area.

On January 2, 2024, Mass General Brigham will begin requiring masks for health care personnel who interact directly with patients, while patients and visitors will be encouraged to wear masks, according to the health system.

In a statement, the health system said: “With the percentage of patients presenting to emergency rooms and outpatient settings with respiratory illnesses exceeding 2.85% in the region, Mass General Brigham will begin requiring the wearing of the mask for healthcare personnel interacting directly with patients on January 2. Patients and visitors will be strongly encouraged to wear a facility-issued mask.

When respiratory illnesses decrease and fall below 2.85% for a week, the hospital announces that the masking required by the policy will end.

Last week, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute reinstated its masking policy for staff and patients.

“Your health and safety are our top priorities,” the hospital said. “Face masks are currently required for everyone at Dana-Farber. »

The Boston Public Health Commission recently reported a 23% increase in COVID-19 levels in wastewater, as well as significant increases in wastewater influenza and RSV.

There is also a “much more contagious” COVID variant called JN-1.

Mask policies were first implemented in 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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