NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. (1010 WINS) — New York state's largest health care provider ended its mask mandate Tuesday as an increasing number of facilities drop or modify COVID-19 restrictions.
Northwell Health said in a statement that face masks are no longer required at its facilities unless staff or visitors interact with "patients who have a suspected or confirmed viral respiratory infection or are immunocompromised."
It's a move the provider is heralding as "an important milestone," as March marked the third anniversary of the start of the pandemic.
Masks were previously required in all Northwell patient care areas prior to Tuesday. Previously, the restriction was relaxed in nonclinical areas.
However, if local COVID-19 transmission rates increase or there's a COVID outbreak at a Northwell facility, mask rules could change.
The New York’s health department had required masks in health care facilities statewide before the mandate expired in February and individual health systems were encouraged to enforce their own policies.
While many hospital systems have relaxed their mask requirements, the nation’s largest public health care system, NYC Health + Hospitals, still requires them in its facilities as of March.