116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Starting this week, masks now are optional for most patients, visitors and fully vaccinated staff members at UnityPoint Health hospitals in Eastern Iowa.
Health system officials announced a revision of mask policies at hospitals and associated clinics at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital in Waterloo and UnityPoint Health-Finley Hospital in Dubuque.
However, masks still are recommended for those who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, are immunocompromised or otherwise desire to wear a mask.
Masks also are recommended for those who are experiencing respiratory symptoms, have had a known COVID-19 exposure in the past 10 days or have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days.
Health care workers at these hospitals still are required to wear a mask when entering a patient room or while performing direct patient care. In addition, patients may be asked to wear a mask while seeing a health care provider one-on-one, officials said.
Revision to masking policies is based on community transmission levels of COVID-19, officials said in their announcement Monday. Currently, all three hospitals are in areas with low virus transmission.
Officials are using state data to track COVID-19 transmission levels, a St. Luke’s spokeswoman told The Gazette.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all but three counties in Iowa — Calhoun, Carroll and Sac — are in the “low” category for COVID-19 transmission. Under federal guidelines, people living in areas rated as medium or low no longer need to wear masks indoors or in public spaces.
“We would like to remind our communities that if community transmission levels increase, masks will again be required in UnityPoint Health facilities,” officials said in a statement. “These changes reflect the nature of COVID-19 and our new normal as we continue to navigate the pandemic.”
The new policy is effective immediately in Waterloo and Dubuque, and will begin Tuesday at St. Luke’s.
Up-to-date visitor guidelines can be found on the health system’s website at unitypoint.org.
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