Universal Masking At St James and Noyes Memorial Hospital

April 1, 2020

St. James Hospital and Noyes Memorial Hospital officials say that “Universal Masking”, in other words, everyone, patients and medical professionals alike, are to wear a medical mask, when inside the hospital buildings in Hornell and in Dansville.

Hospitals prefer to provide the medical masks, as opposed to people making their own masks.

Statement From St James: As the novel coronavirus extends its spread throughout the region, UR Medicine/St. James Hospital is moving to “universal masking,” which requires all staff, vendors and visitors within St. James health care facilities to wear a surgical mask at all times. Universal masking applies to all inpatient, urgent care, procedure and clinic locations within St. James Hospital, and takes effect Tuesday, March 31 at 7 p.m.

“Several factors drove this decision,” said Bilal Ahmed, MD, St. James chief medical officer. “The experience of other organizations and countries suggests that taking a universal approach to masking in health care settings helps to keep the pandemic under control. We are seeing a steady increase of cases in Steuben County and the region. Now that the infection is becoming more prevalent, universal masking is a preventative strategy we can take to keep our health care workers and patients safe, and also slow down the increase in positive cases.”

All UR Medicine affiliates, in collaboration with Rochester Regional Health, are taking this approach.

The new directives include:
• All St. James staff, vendors or other visitors must wear a mask while in any common or shared areas of the hospital at 7329 Seneca Rd. and medical office building at 7309 Seneca Rd. This includes the lobby, hallway, patient unit, patient exam rooms, cafeteria, etc.
• Only patients who are COVID-19 positive or show symptoms of COVID-19 will be masked.

“We know that the coronavirus spreads mainly from person-to-person,” said Dr. Ahmed. “The primary means of transmission appears to be respiratory droplets from a sneeze or cough that land on a surface (i.e., doorknobs, phones, countertops), or from droplets from a coughing or sneezing person a few feet away. Masks prevent the virus on your hands — or dispersed from a cough – from reaching your nose and mouth (and why frequent hand washing and hand sanitizers are so strongly encouraged). By masking our entire health care workforce, we are taking yet one more step to reduce the risk of inadvertent exposure among co-workers, with our patients, our family and friends, and our community.”

For COVID-19 information and updates call the UR Medicine hotline (1-888-928-0011) or visit www.ny.gov or stjames.urmc.edu.