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COVID-19 Policy and Masking Update for MaineHealth Employees

Masking update, Effective March 18, 2024

Our Respiratory Virus Response workgroup has been meeting regularly to monitor viral illness rates in Maine, and in MaineHealth hospitals and clinics. Over the past month, there has been a substantial decline in overall infection rates, including those due to COVID-19, influenza and RSV. For example, the number of Mainers hospitalized for COVID-19 or influenza is now less than half of the seasonal peak, and the percent of outpatient visit for influenza-like illness has declined for three consecutive weeks and is approaching the regional baseline rate of 2%. 

Due to this decline in community respiratory virus activity, it is no longer necessary to require care team members to mask during all direct patient care interactions.

Care team members who wish to continue masking may do so. In addition, if patients or family members request that you mask, please honor that request by masking for those clinical encounters. Masking is also required when indicated as part of transmission-based precautions (for example, during care of patients with infections that require droplet or airborne precautions). 

We continue to strongly encourage all care team members to monitor for symptoms of respiratory viral illness and stay home when symptomatic, as outlined by Employee Health. The Respiratory Virus Response workgroup will continue to monitor respiratory virus activity in the region and will recommend changes as needed. Please direct questions about masking to a member of your local infection prevention team.

Effective November 1, 2023

MaineHealth has updated its care team COVID-19 immunization guidance to help protect you and to keep our workplace safe. As we have throughout the pandemic, we considered the latest science and data in our decision-making. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine. As result, MaineHealth is updating our requirements effective November 1, 2023.

  • New care team members and students must continue to show evidence of vaccination against COVID-19 – either a primary series or a dose of an updated vaccine. Exemptions will be allowed for philosophical, religious or medical reasons.
  • It is recommended that existing care team members and students get vaccinated with the fall 2023 updated COVID-19 vaccine. As with the 2022 updated vaccine, this is encouraged but not required.
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requires that all hospitals report the rate of updated COVID-19 vaccination. Therefore, all care team members must now report whether or not they have received the updated COVID-19 vaccine.

What you need to know now:

For those care team members receiving their vaccination at one of the MaineHealth COVID clinics, you do NOT need to submit documentation.

If you received your COVID vaccination at a pharmacy or other location, you must send the documentation to Employee Health Services at EHS_Vaccine@mainehealth.org for processing. You may scan or take a photo of the documentation or submit a PDF from MyChart. View instructions.

If You Have COVID Symptoms

Self-monitor to make sure you are safe to be at work before entering a MaineHealth facility. 

Care team members with COVID-19 symptoms in the last 48 hours, including fever of 100 degrees or greater, chills, new cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or runny nose:

  • For the safety of our patients and care team, please take a home COVID-19 test before coming to work.
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If you test positive, please complete this EMPLOYEE COVID TEST POSITIVE form.

Care team members who have been exposed to COVID-19 and do not have symptoms:

  • May continue to work and should monitor for symptoms.
  • No longer need to test post-exposure if no symptoms are present.
  • Care team members, who are notified they have been exposed to a COVID-positive individual, are required to wear, at minimum, a surgical mask through day 10 post exposure regardless of vaccination status. Day 0 is the date of exposure.

Questions? Please call 207-661-3750.

If you test positive:

If you test positive for COVID-19 please follow these guidelines during your isolation period.

Return-to-work guide:

View if you have COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19, or have been exposed to COVID-19.