CVPH Returns to Masking Requirement

The University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) is requiring patients and visitors to resume masking as COVID infection rates rise in the region and the hospital manages an outbreak of the virus within its facility.  Employees have returned to masking and when appropriate, the use of protective eyewear.

“In order to protect our patients, our staff and families, we are requiring all patients and visitors to wear appropriate face coverings - surgical masks - while they are with us,” said Keith Collins, MD, infectious disease specialist. “COVID can be spread before you have symptoms and you may not know you are carrying it.”  Masking, according to Dr. Collins,  has been shown to reduce individuals’ risk of exposure to airborne pathogens like COVID and influenza while indoors.

In the past 10 days, CVPH has experienced an increased number of COVID positive admissions, emergency visits and employees out of work after testing positive for the virus. “We have a number of patients who were diagnosed with COVID here. Because it’s unclear how they came in contact with the virus, universal masking is the best way to combat its spread,” explained Lisa Mark, MD, CVPH vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer. 

“We are making this change as we see trends develop and the virus’ prevalence rise across our region,” said Carlyn Haag, RN, CVPH’s associate chief nursing officer. “By taking action now, we can limit the virus’ impact.”

Hospital officials continue to ask prospective visitors to find alternatives to in-person visitation if they are sick or feeling unwell. CVPH offers patients and families options like video visits to ensure they are able to connect with their loved ones.

“If you have a cough, fever, sore throat, muscle pain or shortness of breath, we ask that you consider postponing your visit or use an alternative way to connect to your loved one,” said Haag.

Dr. Collins added that in addition to masking, the COVID vaccine is effective in providing protection. “If you have not received a booster or are not vaccinated, I highly recommend that you do. Vaccines work, it’s just that simple.” 

CVPH’s policies for pre-procedure and pre-admission COVID-19 testing remain the same.

Free surgical/procedural masks are available at entrances for both hospitals. For more information, More information about the masking and visitation policies can be found on the CVPH website.