UVM Health Network Launches Universal Employee Masking Policy

All Staff Across the Network Will be Directed to Wear Masks to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19

BURLINGTON(VT) – As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, The University of Vermont HealthNetwork is directing all employees in its facilities in Vermont and NorthernNew York to wear masks, aligning with the most recent best practices to protectstaff and patients across the Network.

“Ourstaff across the entire network have been working tirelessly and selflessly todeliver high-quality care during this pandemic. We know there is a lot ofanxiety about the use of masks and respirators and we are updating our policiesto ensure our staff have the best protection policy. Federal and state guidanceon masks is evolving and we will continue to update our policies as needed,”said John Brumsted, MD, President and CEO of the University of Vermont HealthNetwork.

Aspart of the revised policy:

  • All staff who are not in close patient contact will be directed to wear a cloth mask while at work. This includes staff who are more than 6 feet from patients and spending less than a few minutes around patients. These masks will allow staff to contain their own secretions and droplets while helping protect others.
  • Staff who are within 6 feet of patients and spending more than a few minutes near patients will be directed to wear procedural or surgical masks or universal N95 respirators. The respirators will help contain their own secretions and droplets and protect them from the secretions and droplets of others.
  • Staff who are directly caring for COVID-19 patients or persons suspected of being infected with COVID-19 during aerosolizing treatments will be directed to wear a fit-tested N95.

Ateam from across the UVM Health Network developed the revisedmasking/respirator policy. It is based on the latest guidance available fromthe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Vermont and New YorkState Departments of Health.

Thispolicy is effective immediately and will be implemented at all networkaffiliates. We will continuously review this policy and update as necessary.Our supply chain team is continuing to explore all available opportunities toincrease the availability of PPE we have on hand.

“Protectingour staff while providing the high-quality care our patients and residents,remains our top priority during this COVID-19 pandemic. We have a supply of PPEon hand that is necessary to ensure the safety of those who need it,” said AnnaTempesta Noonan, BSN, MS, RN, President and Chief Operating Officer of TheUniversity of Vermont Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center.

In alignment with stay-at-home orders in Vermont and New York,unless it is an emergency, patients should stay at home and contact theirdoctor by phone or through MyChart if they have COVID-19 symptoms, to includefever, cough, and/or shortness of breath. Our providers will work with patientsto determine if testing or medical treatment is needed. Patients experiencingsymptoms where they would otherwise seek emergency medical care should visittheir local Emergency Department or contact their primary care doctor, butshould not suffer in silence.

The UVM Health Network reminds the community that the best stepsto prevent spread of COVID-19 are:

  • If you can, stay home.
  • Clean your hands frequently – wash your hands or use portable alcohol hand sanitizer before you eat.
  • Cough and sneeze into your arm, not your hands.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Avoid crowded spaces.
  • Avoid nonessential travel.

 

More information about COVID-19 is available at:

www.uvmhealth.org/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/

 

 About The University of Vermont HealthNetwork

The University of Vermont Health Networkis an academic health system that is comprised of six affiliate hospitals, amulti-specialty medical group, and a home health agency. We serve theresidents of Vermont and northern New York with a shared mission: workingtogether, we improve people’s lives.  Our partners include:

 

Our4,000 health care professionals are driven to provide high-quality,cost-efficient care as close to home as possible. Strengthened by ouracademic connection to the University of Vermont, each of our hospitals remainscommitted to its local community by providing compassionate, personal careshaped by the latest medical advances and delivered by highly skilled experts.

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