COVID-19 Policy and Masking Update for MaineHealth Employees
Effective November 1, 2023
MaineHealth has updated its care team COVID-19 immunization and masking 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:
- Reporting details will be announced in the coming weeks.
- Please keep your documentation when you get your vaccine.
- MaineHealth COVID vaccine clinic info will also be announced soon.
MaineHealth is adopting a strategic approach to masking during the respiratory viral season and no single trigger, such as vaccination status or a single surveillance metric, should be used to determine the need to institute masking.
The decision to institute masking should be based on multiple epidemiologic measures, including emergency department visits for Influenza-like illness, hospitalization rate for COVID and/or Influenza, etc. During the respiratory viral season, MaineHealth’s system epidemiology team will assess epidemiologic data weekly and make a recommendation to institute masking when appropriate. The approach may vary by location based on local considerations. For example, masking may be instituted selectively in high-risk areas such as the infusion center or oncology unit rather than hospital-wide (acute care units with two or more hospital-onset cases, which diagnosed after seven days in the hospital, are designated as outbreak units and already masking for all direct patient care).
This decision will be communicated through appropriate channels and implemented with assistance from locally embedded infection prevention teams.
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.
- For more information, review the MaineHealth return-to-work guidance.
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.