'Widespread Flu' in Rhode Island prompts activation of masking requirement
By: News Staff
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
Kidney treatment centers
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.