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Patients, visitors now required to wear face masks at BJC HealthCare facilities

There are exceptions for young children and those who are unable to remove their own mask
Credit: SLBJ
BJC HealthCare's flagship hospital, Barnes-Jewish, in the Central West End.

ST. LOUIS — Patients, visitors and employees of BJC hospitals, doctor's offices or any other facilities will be required to wear face masks, effective Wednesday.

Children under 2 years old, or anybody with difficulty breathing or who are unable to remove their own mask without assistance should not wear one, according to a press release from BJC.

“This additional measure of caution inside our facilities is an important step, especially as we begin to resume some of our normal operations,” said Hilary Babcock, MD, director of infection prevention at BJC HealthCare and an infectious disease specialist at Washington University School of Medicine. 

Patients should wear their own masks to their appointments. They can be homemade or "in any format or style available," the release said. If a patient doesn’t have a personal mask, the BJC location will provide one.

“Many people already use masks when they need to be in public places where social distancing is difficult to maintain,” Babcock said in the release.

Patients who arrive with respiratory symptoms will be provided with a medical-grade isolation mask.

Visitor restrictions are still in place, but the few visitors who are allowed will be required to wear a mask.

Caregivers who have direct patient contact are already required to wear medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) in accordance with CDC guidelines, the release said. Employees who work in offices or who otherwise don’t interact with patients will be required to wear cloth or homemade masks.

BJC said there is evidence that wearing masks and social distancing have helped flatten the curve of COVID-19.

Wednesday, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced face coverings may be required for employees and customers of businesses when restrictions ease.

RELATED: Face masks would be required of employees, customers in St. Louis County when restrictions ease

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