Masks no longer required in health care settings beginning on April 3

Contact: Don Thomson

This change reflects positive state-wide trends in respiratory illnesses, and hospitalizations.

In response to improving metrics, the Oregon Health Authority recently announced that it will lift the statewide mask mandate for health care settings on April 3, 2023. As we have since the start of the pandemic, Willamette University will align its policies with state guidance. Starting Monday, April 3, masks will no longer be required in Bishop Wellness Center or Burr Sports Medicine Center, though students will be supported in their individual masking decisions during visits. Masks remain an effective way to reduce transmission of respiratory viruses and we will support anyone who chooses to mask.

In a March 9 press conference, Dr. Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed., health officer and state epidemiologist at Oregon Health Authority (OHA) shared that these statewide changes are driven by high vaccination rates and downward-trending test positivity rates for COVID-19, influenza and RSV. Dr. Sidelinger pointed to recent state actions as a reflection of the strong outlook for respiratory viruses, including:

  • Lifting Oregon’s mask requirement for health care settings effective April 3. Sidelinger called it “a positive step in our ongoing response to COVID-19. Indicators of COVID-19, RSV and influenza spread have significantly decreased in the last several months and continue to decline.”
  • The March 6 expiration of Executive Order 22-24, which former Gov. Kate Brown issued Dec. 7, 2022, expired this past Monday, March 6. “We’re relieved to have gotten through this very challenging period, but grateful to have had the opportunity to support our health care partners in ensuring continuity of care for their sickest patients,” Sidelinger said.
  • A shift from a state-level response to a focus on individual risk assessment, as Oregonians move forward in living with COVID-19 and “manage the constant, but low-level presence of the virus in our communities,” Sidelinger said.

We continue to encourage everyone to wear masks when they are sick. Individuals with health conditions that put them at high risk for severe illness from exposure to respiratory viruses should continue to wear masks wherever they feel comfortable.

We thank everyone in our community for their continued diligence and care for one another.

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