As a health care center, we follow the best practice recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and DC Health in creating our own policies with respect to Covid or other health topics. In early November, we made changes to our masking policies that align with health guidance from CDC and DC Health. Our health center will now base mask-wearing on community spread and transmission rates and will adjust based on the level of Covid present in the community. This graduated masking policy means that at times when COVID transmission is less in the community, masking is optional. We always welcome you to mask, and masks remain available to all patients and staff. The banner at the top of our website will always reflect our current status.
Our team is monitoring Covid levels daily. Each morning, our Occupational Health team monitors the CDC Covid dashboards for the District of Columbia. If levels reach a need to require masking, this is communicated to our staff and patients.
There remain situations in which masking is always required. We continue to require masking for staff when they are caring for anyone who is moderately or severely immune compromised. Patients are also required to mask if they have any respiratory symptoms or have had a known COVID exposure. Please note: Staff are screened daily by our Occupational Health team and are required to stay home if they are experiencing Covid or any type of respiratory symptoms.
Our approach is designed to be thoughtful and responsive to all of the patients that come to us for care. Our team is fully vaccinated against COVID and influenza and will respect the individual needs and wishes of patients on a case-by-case basis. If you are masked, we will mask. We want patients and the community to feel respected and safe at Whitman-Walker.
We recognize that there are times when masking is critical to safe patient care. As we have done earlier in the pandemic, we will ensure that mask-wearing is fully implemented in these instances while also working to accommodate those who may benefit from engaging in care without a mask when it is safe to do so.
As always, thank you for being part of our community.