‘We’re not requiring associates to wear masks in non-patient care facilities’

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Several local medical centers are relaxing their COVID-19 protocols, but a lot of restrictions are still in place.

For every hospitalized patient at St. Luke’s in Cedar Rapids, four people can come in and visit. But for patients in the ICU, the emergency room, behavioral health units, and rehabilitation, visitors are still restricted to two.

For both UnityPoint and Mercy Medical Center, visitors for patients at the end of their lives are considered on a case-by-case basis. Mask-wearing is now optional for employees at UnityPoint that don’t work one on one with patients.

Dr. Dustin Arnold with UnityPoint compares mask-wearing to glove-wearing, when it was first introduced as a medical routine over 25 years ago.

“Prior to that you just washed your hands before and after every patient, then before the next patient, you know? Then we switched to wearing gloves and that’s now become the standard, you glove up when you see a patient,” said Dr. Arnold.

He adds that these changes are consistent with the CDC guidelines for health care institutions.

“We’re not requiring associates to wear masks in non-patient care facilities,” he said.

They also continue to take into consideration what their employees are saying as they experience the latest COVID-19 protocols.

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