St. Luke’s Hospital, along with all UnityPoint clinics and urgent care facilities, has reinstituted a mandatory masking policy for all staff, patients and visitors.
The new requirement begins today (Friday, Dec. 9).
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends universal masking in health care facilities when there is high community transmission of COVID-19, and Linn County is now seeing high transmission,” UnityPoint spokesperson Sarah Corizzo said in an email. “As a result, universal masking will resume Dec. 9 at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital. Masking is required for team members and visitors.”
The St. Luke’s mandatory masking policy is in effect regardless of vaccination status for seasonal influenza or COVID-19, UnityPoint officials said.
UnityPoint had previously relaxed its masking policies in April due to a drop in COVID-19 transmission levels.
However, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported Dec. 7 that the number of new, documented COVID-19 infections was at least 28% higher in the past week in Iowa than it was the week prior, according to state data.
The state reported 3,469 new, weekly confirmed cases among people who were not previously infected by the coronavirus. That’s more than double the state’s reported infection rate nearly two months ago.