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Update to In-office Mask Protocol

December 31, 2021, by Jessica Crisp

As we’re all aware, North Carolina and every community across our eight-county service area are experiencing unprecedented increases in COVID-19 positivity rates.  Although fully-vaccinated and boosted individuals who may have breakthrough infections are likely to experience only mild symptoms, as team members in a community-supported healthcare organization; we share a responsibility to model good public health behaviors while we’re in the office and at all times while representing the organization.

Beginning no later than Tuesday, January 5, 2022 team members working in any administrative office setting are required to wear a surgical mask.  Please note, the organization will no longer consider cloth masks, of any sort, appropriate. This is consistent with the evolving guidance from public health officials in light of the increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.  Surgical masks are to be worn consistent with previously established guidance and are available in the supply room at each campus.  For any team member with an accommodation, the accommodation remains the controlling guideline.  Surgical masks should not be worn if they are visibly soiled or if they become moist or saturated.

Although the organization has an ample supply of surgical masks, please take only the number necessary for your own use.  For assistance in locating or accessing surgical masks in High Point, please see Susan Cox.  In Asheboro, please see MaryJo Norwood, Candy Hunter, or Beth Taylor.  Team members are encouraged to source surgical masks for in-office use from the organization’s current inventory.  If you purchase surgical masks for use outside the office environment, keep the following in mind:  surgical/procedure masks purchased in any over-the-counter retail location should be marked as fluid resistant.

Although a significant percentage of team members who are booster-eligible have received a booster dose, team members who are eligible and have not taken advantage of the booster dose are encouraged to do so. While the CDC still defines fully vaccinated as having received both doses of either the Pfizer (Comirnity) or Moderna mRNA vaccine or a single dose of the J&J vaccine, reports suggest the CDC may be contemplating updating the definition of fully vaccinated in the coming weeks.  Most importantly, however, scientific evidence demonstrates that booster doses increase immune response and protective immunity significantly.  Just like receiving the flu vaccine helps minimize the effects of a breakthrough flu infection, a COVID-19 booster dose helps minimize the risk of severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization or death.

For more information about our organizational response to COVID-19 please click here.