Madison hospitals to require masks at all times, request mask donations as need expected to rise

two Handmade Cloth Mask

MADISON, Wis. – Madison-area health systems will require patients and visitors to wear masks to prevent coronavirus spread at their facilities, according to a news release Thursday.

UW Health, UnityPoint Health, SSM Health and the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital officials said in a joint release that as their facilities in the Madison area expand patient care services amid the pandemic, everyone is encouraged to bring their own mask. Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth.

“Wearing a mask is new for most of us, and it may feel a little strange at first,” Dr. Pam Wetzel, chief medical officer at UnityPoint Health-Meriter, said. “However, we know this will be our new normal for a while. We’ll need them not only at hospitals and clinics, but also at places like the grocery store to keep ourselves and those around us safe.”

In addition to wearing a face covering, all visitors must go through a health screening process before entry and follow policies and procedures in place within the facility. All health systems in the Madison area follow the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as Dane County’s Safer at Home order.

Area hospitals are adding back important health services, and emphasizing that patients with emergency care needs don’t wait to come to the emergency room.

As patients return for care, and visitor restrictions are eased, the demand for face coverings is increasing, especially at clinics. Facilities are accepting donations of masks. The facilities have lists of how vitizens can help on their websites.

While items like face coverings and gloves can help, the best way the community can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 is by practicing physical distancing and performing proper hand hygiene, the health systems said.