NCH and Lee Health lift mask requirements

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Several of our major health systems recently changed a policy that many people are grateful for.

After years of managing COVID, there’s a clear sign that the worst is behind us.

Signs requiring mandatory masks in area hospitals are gone.

The result of updated guidance from the CDC allows healthcare providers to determine their Covid risk and act accordingly.

A doctor wearing a mask. CREDIT: WINK News

NCH Healthcare System and Lee Health lifted mask requirements with a few stipulations.

NCH sent WINK News information explaining people who are fully vaccinated and have no signs of Covid are free from wearing a mask in its facilities.

Information sent by NCH to WINK News about masks. CREDIT: WINK News

Lee Health asks people three questions when they enter the building.

If they have any covid symptoms. If they’ve been in close contact with a case or suspected case in the past five days. And, whether they’ve tested positive in the last five days.

The CDC issued its new Covid guidelines back in late September.

Changes began taking place locally in October, while Southwest Florida was dealing with Hurricane Ian.

JD Davis and his buddies are looking to the future and leaving the past behind them.

“This holiday we gotta think of the future not what happened in the past. we gotta rebuild down here. Covid is just a small part of it,” Davis said

However, before you throw the mask in the trash, winter months will typically see a rise in respiratory illnesses like the flu and Covid.

Other parts of the country are already seeing an increase in Covid cases fueled this time around by the variants known as B.1 and B1.1.

But, with widespread immunity from vaccination, infection, and approved medicines the threat is lower than in previous years.

Dr. Nidhi Kumar, an expert in infectious disease, finds the new strains are less severe.

“They are very transmissible but not necessarily more dangerous. so right now we’re not seeing that same level of severe respiratory disease,” Dr. Kumar said.

It’s another small reason to be thankful during the holiday season.

While airlines lifted mask requirements in April, hospitals and healthcare settings were among the last holdouts still requiring masks.

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