Updated strategic masking guidelines introduced for Horizon facilities

HORIZON – Horizon wishes to inform the public that, EFFECTIVE MONDAY, Oct. 30 all health care workers, patients, social visitors and designated support persons (DSPs) will be required to wear a medical-grade mask in all patient-facing/clinical areas of our facilities.

This represents a change from previous masking guidance announced on October 3 where strategic masking was implemented in Horizon hospitals experiencing outbreaks of respiratory illness.

The updated masking policy applies to all Horizon facilities.

This means that a medical grade face mask must be worn at all times in patient-facing/clinical areas, including all inpatient units, outpatient/ambulatory care clinics and emergency departments and any other clinical setting, including waiting areas.

Masking will not be required in non-clinical areas, such as lobbies, hallways or cafeterias, however medical grade face masks remain available in all Horizon facilities to anyone wishing to wear one at any time.

Patients, social visitors and DSPs must continue to self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19 and other respiratory illness prior to entering a Horizon facility.

DSPs with new symptoms of a respiratory infection in the past 10 days or those who have tested positive in the last 10 days will fail screening and are asked not to enter and are advised to contact the nursing unit for further direction.

Social visitors with new onset symptoms of a respiratory infection in the past 10 days or those who have tested positive in the last 10 days are not permitted to visit.

Symptomatic patients may attend their appointment as planned, they must clean their hands, put on a mask and inform their health care team that they have failed screening.

We urge everyone to do their part to help keep our facilities safe by answering questions honestly and respectfully every time they arrive. 

Everyone who enters our facilities must perform proper hand hygiene (clean their hands) regularly and practice physical distancing from others. 

Continuous use of medical grade face masks is required for health care workers and DSPs on outbreak units. On these units HCWs, DSPs and patients (when out of their room) wear a medical grade face mask at all times. Social visitors are not permitted to visit patients on a patient care unit experiencing a respiratory virus outbreak.

We continue to ask the public to treat our physicians, staff, patients and other visitors to our hospitals with kindness, respect and understanding as we take steps to reduce the risk of transmission of respiratory illness in our facilities and do our best to protect our most vulnerable patients.

Horizon’s Infectious Diseases/Infection Prevention and Control team is closely monitoring respiratory virus activity in our communities and facilities and will review this information throughout the respiratory illness season (October through April) to determine when updates to masking guidance can safely be made.

Signage will be put in place to help patients, DSPs and visitors understand when masks are required and when they are optional.

The public can also easily access updated information on masking guidance, self-screening and which Horizon hospital units are experiencing outbreaks of respiratory illness on the Horizon website via our Visitor Guidelines at Hospitals and Health Care Facilities page.

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For more information contact:

Kris McDavid

Media Relations