As COVID-19 cases rise, three Hudson hospitals reinstate mask mandates


Have you checked the supply of COVID-19 masks recently?

You’ll need one if you’re going to three of Hudson County’s six hospitals because coronavirus cases have increased recently.

“My concern was about staff suddenly falling ill,” said Dr. Nizar Kifaih, president and CEO of Hudson Regional Hospital (HRH), one of three hospitals that reinstated its pandemic mask policy. “We have very valuable people here whether it is nursing staff, technicians, or nurse assistants or physicians.

“Everyone knows there are shortages of staff everywhere and the last thing we need is someone (exposed to the coronavirus) and getting sick, and there will be a dire situation for patient care.”

Jersey City Medical Center and all RWJBarnabas Health hospitals across the state, as well as Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen and some other Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals, are also back to requiring masks.

“This decision was made due to the increased spread of COVID-19 in these communities,” an official at Palisades Medical Center said. “The health and safety of our team members and patients has always been and will continue to be our number one priority. Currently, masking is strongly encouraged, but not required, in our other hospitals and facilities.

For most of the spring and summer, coronavirus cases statewide were under 1,000 per week, but since children returned to school, statewide numbers have hovered between 3,000 and 4,500 per week, according to data provided by the state.

In Hudson County, weeks with fewer than 50 cases had become common, but the county recorded consecutive weeks with more than 300 cases in September.

Masks are optional at CarePoint Health System’s three hospitals in Hudson County — Christ Hospital in Jersey City, Hoboken University Medical Center and Bayonne Medical Center.

“We are monitoring our internal, county and regional data daily and will adjust as necessary,” said Dr. John Rimmer, chief medical officer of CarePoint Health. “Currently, our number of Covid patients has not changed statistically – but we expect this to increase as we move into ‘respiratory season’.” The safety of patients and staff is our top priority and adjustments will be made as the situation warrants.”

Officials said that although masks are not required, they are readily available to anyone who wants one at CarePoint health facilities. Englewood Health Medical Center and its facilities in Hudson County are similarly moving forward.

“Masks are encouraged in all patient care areas, including for team members, visitors and outpatients,” a spokesperson said, adding that the network’s guidelines “are based on the level of community transmission of COVID-19, flu and other infectious “Subject to change. Disease.”

At Hudson Regional Hospital, Kifaih says his team is assessing the threat on a week-by-week basis, observing data from local and state health departments. “We continue to monitor COVID admissions, and we look at what’s happening with our staff, and we seek guidance from the state.”

Kifaih said he made his decision independent of what other hospitals were doing, and relied more on the number of staff members who were calling in sick, and more on the calls of colleagues who had access to urgent care. are the centre.

“There are long lines of people coming back to their facilities for evaluation for respiratory infections and possibly COVID-19,” he said.

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