Major Michigan Health Systems Transition to Optional Masking

Beginning Monday, April 17, 2023, at 6:00 am routine masking is no longer required in Covenant facilities with a few exceptions (see below for details).

Masking remains required for the following:

  • Those with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 (e.g. COVID-19) infection or other respiratory infection (runny nose, coughing, sneezing).
  • Those who have had close contact with someone diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2.
  • Those who have had a high-risk exposure with someone diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2; masking is required 10 days after exposure (for health care workers)
  • Those in a unit experiencing an outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 infection.*
  • Those in the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU).*

*Department/unit leadership will conduct a risk assessment and monitor for any masking changes.

  • Individuals may continue to mask based on personal preference or perceived level of risk.
  • If masks are worn, they must be medical-grade masks issued by Covenant. No personal or cloth masks.
  • Employees must continue to follow proper isolation precautions and other personal protective equipment (PPE) protocols.
  • Masking requirement may be reinstituted if SARS-CoV-2 community transmission reaches a high level, an outbreak occurs, or as directed by local, state, or federal health agencies.

After three years of caring for patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many of Michigan’s major health systems are making masking optional in most areas over the next week.

Factors influencing the Michigan health systems to work together to make this decision include:

  • The number of COVID-19 inpatients has drastically declined across the state.
  • There are multiple effective ways to combat the virus, including vaccines and medical treatment.
  • The desire to restore the powerful human connection when patients, caregivers and loved ones can see each other’s faces.

Specific details about each health system’s optional masking policies will be available on each health system’s website. COVID-19 has become an illness that, in most cases, will be treated like other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu. The virus will likely remain for years to come.

All health systems will continue to provide stations with free masks and hand sanitizer at entrances for patients, visitors and team members who choose to use them. Patients can also ask their care teams to wear masks.

Masking guidelines could be adjusted again if COVID-19, flu or any other virus begins to spread rapidly in the community.