As of Thursday afternoon, Hackensack Meridian Health is now requiring all patients, visitors and staff to wear masks at eight of their locations, including Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.
This latest move comes just two days after the New Jersey health network announced a similar policy at some of their other locations.
In addition to their Neptune location, the updated list includes Carrier Clinic, JFK University Medical Center, Palisades Medical Center, Ocean University Medical Center, Old Bridge Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center and Southern Ocean Medical Center.
The move comes as the number of Covid-infected people admitted as in-patients at hospitals in New Jersey crossed 600 for the first time in more than six months.
According to Hackensack Meridian, the decision was made due to an increase in COVID-19 prevalence in these hospitals and communities and noted in a statement that masking is strongly encouraged at all other Hackensack Meridian Health facilities.
Please note, there are some instances when wearing a mask is still required:
When isolation precautions (aka transmission-based precautions) are in place (ex. confirmed or suspected COVID-19, flu, etc.);
Upon request by the patient or the patient’s representative;
Specific areas of the hospital/facility where highly vulnerable patients are receiving care (e.g. NICU);
When a patient is experiencing respiratory symptoms (i.e. coughing, difficulty breathing, sneezing, or nasal congestion);
After exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 without wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.
Masks are available at all Hackensack Meridian Health locations. Patients, visitors or team members who would like to continue wearing a mask where masking is optional are free to do so.
It is recommended that people plan their hospital visit by calling in advance and listening for any visitation limitations or changes in masking guidance.