Be Vigilant: Use Proper Masking, Distancing and Self-Monitor for Respiratory Illness

The following information was provided to UW Health employees on Dec. 20 and replaced earlier information. It is posted on UW Health’s intranet U-Connect. You can view the original here. This message only pertains to UW Health employees (UW Health staff and dually employed faculty physicians). 

Influenza activity has risen to extremely high levels at UW Health and throughout the U.S., so it is vitally important for all of us to remain vigilant in preventing the spread of respiratory infections.

As a health care organization, our safety protocols will always be more extensive than other community employers. Specifically:

  • Proper masking—fit and form—and abiding by masking guidelines
    • Although mask requirements have lifted in other areas, we care for vulnerable patients in the health care setting and masking is still required at UW Health in areas where patients could be present.
    • Staff and providers are required to wear a well-fitting barrier mask—covering the mouth and nose—in areas of the facility where they could encounter patients. In our clinical settings, staff and providers should be wearing the right mask with the right fit based on the circumstances of patient care.
    • Relaxed behaviors among staff and providers in patient care areas have been observed. We need to remain vigilant in following best practice infection control behaviors that are in line with the latest CDC recommendations for health care facilities.
  • Updated guidelines for conference and training spaces
    • Physical distancing in conference rooms is no longer enforced; room capacity limit signs will be removed.
    • Masks are strongly advised in conference spaces in our clinical facilities and in any space (clinical or non-clinical) where staff sit within 6-feet of each other.
  • Staying home while ill
    • Staff and providers must continue daily symptom monitoring and not come to work when experiencing acute respiratory illness, even if COVID-19 testing is negative.