Mask mandate returns at Samaritan Health properties

Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 5:13 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Starting Friday, all Samaritan Health facilities - the hospital, clinics and nursing homes - will require you to mask up again.

It’s due to an uptick in Covid cases.

“It is to help so that we don’t see the spread, we don’t see the numbers rise far beyond what they should. If we just start now when we know there is a trend but it can be mitigated, it can be handled,” said Leslie DiStefano, director of communications and public relations.

The hospital, clinics and nursing homes will require patients, staff and visitors to wear a mask.

“It can be difficult to think about going back to required masking, but if there is one thing that we know is that it absolutely works,” said DiStefano.

With fall near, health officials say people need to remember to do what’s best to protect themselves from all respiratory diseases. But at a county level, don’t expect a mask mandate to return.

“I don’t think we will see that at a large scale. I just think it is important for the public to know that everybody is monitoring that and trying to make sure that we can keep ourselves as safe as possible,” said Faith Lustik, Jefferson County Public Health.

As for Lewis County Health System, there are no plans to change its current mask policy. St. Lawrence County Public Health officials are recommending you stay up to date with your vaccines.

While wearing a mask will not be required everywhere, health officials say it is still a safe option, something some may consider as students go back to school.