Care New England to move to optional masking

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Care New England said Thursday that they plan on moving to optional masking starting next week.

Care New England said the amended policy is expected to begin on April 12.

“A supportive environment for anyone who chooses to wear a mask will remain in place,” said Robin Neale, vice president of quality, clinical effectiveness and infection prevention at Care New England.

The healthcare system implemented universal masking in April 2020, shortly after the first cases of coronavirus were identified in Rhode Island.

Neale said for the past three years, masking has remained in effect to help combat the spread of the virus at the hospitals. During this time, high vaccination rates have been achieved within Care New England and in Rhode Island.

“Transmission rates have fallen to 30 cases per 100,000 RI residents and hospitalizations have fallen dramatically,” Neale said.

Care New England said they will go back to masking if rates of respiratory illness spike in the community.

Also Thursday, Lifespan said they eased their masking policy.

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