Effective June 1, Trinity Health will require all individuals to wear a face covering or mask when they enter Trinity Health facilities. Trinity also will ease its suspension of visitation somewhat, permitting one adult with no COVID-19 symptoms to accompany each hospital or clinic patient.
The changes do not apply at Trinity Homes, which receives direction from the state.
The updated policies are designed to promote a safe environment and improve communication and support for patients. The masking and visitation policies apply to all Trinity Health facilities in Minot, Belcourt, Devils Lake, Garrison, Kenmare, Mohall, New Town, Velva, and Williston.
“Restricting visitation has been critical to reducing spread of the virus, but the resulting isolation and lack of contact with loved ones is difficult for patients,” said Vice President Randy Schwan. “Support from family is important to a patient’s overall care, so we are doing everything we can to safely permit visitors in our hospitals and clinics. Mandatory masking of everyone allows us to take that step.”
The masking requirement is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that says the use of cloth face coverings can slow the spread of coronavirus and prevent people who have COVID-19 and do not realize it from transmitting the virus to others.
“As surveillance testing for COVID-19 accelerates, we see that it is finding more asymptomatic cases. A cloth face covering provides a safeguard against spreading COVID-19, regardless of symptoms. They can be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials,” Schwan said.
Patients, visitors, and anyone entering are required to bring their own face covering to wear. If someone arrives at a facility and does not have a face covering, Trinity Health will provide one, if available. “Every mask that visitors bring is one less mask depleted from our supply for our healthcare workers,” Schwan explained. “Just one mask helps us all. We thank everyone for doing their part to protect each other and the community.”
The CDC guidance states that cloth face coverings should not be placed on children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or incapacitated. CDC.gov provides guidance on how to make a cloth mask and wear it properly.