'Widespread Flu' in Rhode Island prompts activation of masking r - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

'Widespread Flu' in Rhode Island prompts activation of masking requirement

Posted: Updated:

By: News Staff

news@abc6.com

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is encouraging unvaccinated healthcare workers to wear surgical masks.

RIDOH announced on Wednesday that the flu is "widespread" in Rhode Island, and that due to the sudden upswing, the state has prompted a masking requirement for the following healthcare workers in the following facilities:

  • Adult day care programs
  • Assisted living facilities
  • CVS Minute Clinics
  • Free-standing ambulatory care surgical centers
  • Free-standing emergency care facilities
  • Home care providers
  • Home nursing care providers
  • Hospice providers
  • Hospitals
  • Kidney treatment centers
  • Nursing facilities
  • Organized ambulatory care facilities
  • Physician ambulatory surgery centers

RIDOH is advising that healthcare workers in these facilities must wear surgical masks when involved in direct patient contact. 

"The masking requirement is critical in protecting healthcare workers from catching the flu, and also in protecting patients who are often dealing with other serious health issues," said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. "For people who have not been vaccinated yet, it is not too late. Flu vaccine is the best way to keep yourself and the people you love safe from the flu."

Officials say, in addition to the healthcare workers in the above facilities, all licensed EMS practitioners who have yet to be vaccinated must wear masks when engaged in patient contact.

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