The RI Department of Health announced earlier this month that the flu is still widespread throughout the state, leading to a requirement for unvaccinated healthcare workers in hospitals and many other healthcare facilities to wear surgical masks.
According to a press release from the Dept., the healthcare facilities and organization to which this regulation applies include: Adult day care programs; Assisted living facilities; CVS Minute Clinics; Free-standing ambulatory care surgical centers; Free-standing emergency care facilities; Home care providers; Home nursing care providers; Hospice providers; Hospitals; Kidney treatment centers;
Nursing facilities; Organized ambulatory care facilities; Physician ambulatory surgery centers.
"The masking requirement is critical in protecting healthcare workers from catching the flu, and also in protecting patients who are often dealing with other serious health issues," said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. "For people who have not been vaccinated yet, it is not too late. Flu vaccine is the best way to keep yourself and the people you love safe from the flu."
Healthcare workers in these facilities must wear surgical masks when involved in direct patient contact. Direct patient contact is considered routinely anticipated face-to-face contact with patients, such as entering a patient's room, serving food to patients, or participating in group patient activities.
Flu shots are available at doctors' offices and pharmacies throughout Rhode Island