Springfield’s CoxHealth, Mercy relax masking policies

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 10:24 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2023 at 3:52 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - CoxHealth and Mercy announced changes to COVID-19 policies, including where masking is required.

CoxHealth released its new restrictions on Tuesday. Staff will only require healthcare workers, staff, and visitors to wear masks around patients at a greater risk. CoxHealth says it decided based on lower overall positive COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, mortality, and staff illness rates.

Mercy announced masking related to COVID-19 precautions, including clinical spaces, will be optional. The change in policy includes all co-workers, physicians, providers, patients, and visitors in all Mercy communities unless:

  • Symptomatic for COVID-19 or exposed within the last 10 days
  • Clinical space is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak
  • Caring for or visiting patients in isolation (needs will vary based on infection)
  • Co-workers who are exempt from Influenza or COVID-19 vaccination (until at least March 31

ICU Clinic Supervisor at Mercy, Roberta Hurley, said today felt different.

”When we did huddle this morning, everybody’s like, it’s kind of weird to see everybody’s faces now,” said Hurley.

Corrine Fugitt, CoxHealth’s Administrative Director of Quality and Safety, said they are noticing a drop in COVID-19 cases.

“We really felt like that the numbers have stabilized, our mortality rates are much lower, our hospitalizations related to COVID are lower,” said Fugitt.

Hurley said this is a step back to normalcy.

“Oh, it’s so weird that nobody has a mask,” said Hurley.

Hurley said they are seeing fewer people with COVID-19.

“Our numbers aren’t that bad, which is a good step towards the future, because that means that we’ve made progress within COVID,” said Hurley.

Fugitt said those at CoxHealth believe the same thing.

“Looking at the stabilization of data around COVID-19, over the past two months in our area, we have decided that we can deescalate masking,” said Fugitt.

Leaders from both hospitals said we have come a long way.

“Patient safety remains our top priority at CoxHealth, so if they would like for us to mask care of them, we will do that,” said Fugitt.

“It’s one step closer to returning to normalcy for us,” said Hurley. “So it’s a big step.”

CLICK HERE for the announcement from Mercy.

CoxHealth Statement:

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com