PMC Visitors, Fully Vaccinated Staff See Masking Changes

WAYNE – Effective Monday, April 25 masking has been moved as optional for the public and fully vaccinated staff at Providence Medical Center.

According to a release PMC and interim CEO, Kris Giese, individuals can continue to wear masks if they feel more comfortable, but it’s time that patients see the PMC smiles and expressions once again and see the lips and voices clearly to facilitate understanding of important communication and information.

Providence Medical Center is compliant with the recent CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Currently, 97.3% of staff at Providence Medical Center are fully vaccinated with the remainder having been granted a religious or medical exemption.

Lindsay Kvols, ARNP, Infection Preventionist at the hospital added, “Providence has always maintained a laser focus on infection prevention and control, but over the course of the pandemic we’ve added even more safeguards and safety nets.

In addition to basic infection control measures, such as stringent hand hygiene requirements, appropriate utilization of protective equipment, required employee education, established isolation precautions, PMC staff have also added shoe sanitizers at entrances to reduce floor contamination, routine testing for COVID 19 prior to inpatient admission to facilitate appropriate isolation if necessary, negative air pressure units, daily employee self-monitoring, physical barriers  and a variety of other measures to ensure the safety of PMC patients, visitors and staff. In terms of disease transmission, PMC facilities have never been safer.

High risk procedures and areas of the hospital have been identified where the potential of exposure to COVID-19 and other pathogens is greater. Masking will continue in those areas, regardless of the metrics.

Giese mentioned, “the pandemic has taught us a great deal. Healthcare workers have always recognized the value of touch and empathy as a vital aspect of treatment and healing. We underestimated, though, the significance of our expressions, a patient’s need to recognize the faces of their caregivers and the necessity for our patients to see our lips when speaking. Our decision to unmask is to fulfill our commitment to deliver the highest quality of care, and caring, to our community.”

Director of Quality Assurance and Improvement Valerie Hangman said, “we have been monitoring a variety of metrics regarding state and local transmission and positivity rates, hospital capacity, employee illness, etc. for the past two years. Specific and extremely conservative criteria have been established as the trigger for unmasking which have recently been met. We will continue to monitor relevant metrics on a weekly basis and will assess the re-establishment of mask wearing if the data suggests that course.”

PMC administration and staff would like to thank the public for their support and cooperation with their COVID protocols throughout these past years.