Samaritan Health makes masks optional at most facilities

Published: May. 5, 2023 at 2:54 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - After 3 years, Samaritan Health makes masks optional at most of its facilities.

The medical center says the decision comes after closely watching community transmission levels. COVID hospitalization and infection rates are declining, and flu cases are dropping.

There are three exceptions. All staff, patients and visitors at the emergency department, Walker Center for Cancer Care, and Samaritan Keep Home and Summit Village will have to continue to wear masks.

“Traveling around to our different off-site clinics and different places in the hospital and having those conversations, it feels strange for many, but I think just really hopeful and looking at those beautiful smiling faces of our staff has been wonderful,” said Leslie DiStefano, Samaritan Medical Center director of communications and public relations:

This comes, coincidentally, as the World Health Organization said Friday that COVID-19 no longer qualifies as a global emergency.