River’s Edge Hospital lifts universal masking requirement

River’s Edge Hospital lifts universal masking requirement
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 5:49 PM CDT
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ST. PETER, Minn. (KEYC) - Masks are no longer required at River’s Edge Hospital in St. Peter.

It’s the first medical facility in the area to lift its universal face covering rule since the emergence of COVID-19.

The decision comes following the release of new CDC guidelines which say it’s up to healthcare settings to choose whether or not to require them.

River’s Edge says the change has been a long time coming.

“It’s just been exciting. It’s so fun to see everybody’s face, and we have staff here at the hospital who started after the pandemic, and we have never seen them in building below the bridge of their nose” said Chief Experience Officer Stephanie Holden. “I counted the days, and on day 1,002, we finally got to take the masks off.”

Other medical facilities in the region, including Mankato Clinic and Mayo Clinic Health System, have yet to lift their masking requirements.

But River’s Edge expects them to make the switch sometime soon.

“I would assume that they will be following suit,” Holden added. “For some organizations, it may take them a little longer to reevaluate and decide what they want to do. We’re fortunate that we’re a small, independent organization, and we can review that together and make that decision quickly.”

River’s Edge says not all patients can go without a mask.

People with coughs or respiratory illnesses will need to wear one, especially with flu season coming up.

Free disposable masks will still be provided to those who need them.

River’s Edge warns if COVID-19 transmission levels increase in the future, universal masking could be required once again.