Masks Reinstated to New York City Hospitals

Mask mandates will be enforced to enter the “patient areas” of New York City’s 11 public hospitals and all of the nursing homes and health clinics also run by the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation.

The mandates are reportedly in response to a rise in COVID-19 cases and respiratory infections, although the current increase is minimal compared to 2020.

According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, influenza saw a 3% increase in positive cases for the week ending December 30, 2023.

Positive cases of RSV reportedly decreased by 18% over the previous week.

Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan reported that the indoor masking requirement applies only to patient care areas in the facilities.

“Masking remains an extremely important and effective way to reduce transmission of respiratory viral infections, including COVID and influenza,” Dr. Aaron Glatt, chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital on Long Island said.

Recent reports have indicated that hospital systems in at least six other states including California, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Washington and Wisconsin have also instituted mask mandates.

From The New York Post:

“As we’ve seen an increase in COVID, flu, and RSV, our priority is to protect our patients, staff, and the community,” a NYCH+H spokesperson told The Post Wednesday. “This applies to clinical settings such as our hospitals, community health centers, and nursing homes.”

The city recorded a steady uptick in COVID cases during December with a slight decrease near the end of the month, according to state data.