NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) – Universal masking is recommended at all Great Plains Health facilities, although no longer required for patients, visitors, and employees at the present time. This decision comes after consideration of community transmission of COVID-19 in Lincoln County. Transmission is no longer at a high level (red) right now and has been sustained for two weeks, according to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker.

Should community transmission rise to a high level again, then required universal masking will be immediately reinstated. Any updates will be shared through social media and by staff at the Great Plains Health facilities that patients visit, according to a press release issued by Great Plains Health Monday morning. Great Plains Health will continue to offer masks at all entrances for those who wish to wear one, or if required universal masking policy is reinstated.

“Patient safety is our top priority, and masking was a key tool in ensuring that we helped protect vulnerable populations within our facilities throughout the pandemic,” said Ivan Mitchell, chief executive officer, of Great Plains Health. “Data indicates we are at the point where we can re-consider masking requirements, while still utilizing rigorous mitigation strategies.”

Visitors should monitor symptoms and refrain from visiting if they:

  • Have a positive test for COVD-19 in the last 10 days
  • Have a pending COVID-19 test
  • Have symptoms of COVID-19, including chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, the new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

Visitors are permitted, but should still mask if they have had close contact with someone with COVID-19, for 10 days after their exposure. Patients should still mask if they have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection or other respiratory infections with symptoms such as runny nose, coughing, or sneezing.

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