Updates to face covering guidance – August 2022

In Somerset, the prevalence of COVID-19 has continued to fall, mitigating the risks of serious complications for most. Following a thorough risk assessment, we have decided to once again step down the requirement to wear masks on our sites, for healthcare workers, patients, and visitors, in most healthcare settings.

This change in guidance is in full effect from today (Tuesday 16 August).

We are asking patients and visitors to still wear a mask if you:

  • Are visiting loved ones who are higher risk – this could be elderly relatives or patients who are immunocompromised
  • Have any viral-like symptoms, or COVID-19, but you need to attend for a medical emergency.

If you feel unwell with a cold or virus, or have COVID-19, please avoid visiting any healthcare settings unless you need emergency medical treatment. If it is not an emergency, please check first before attending – it may be that you can self-care at home or alternative arrangements can be made.

In many areas, our colleagues are also no longer required to wear mask, but should you wish the person delivering your care to wear one, please ask and they will put one on.

At this time, it is safe for us to implement optional mask-wearing, but as we all know too well, situations can change very rapidly. As we approach the winter months, when infections and viruses spread much easier, we will likely need to review the guidance again. Over the next few months we may also see a surge of COVID-19 cases or find other reasons that may require us to implement the wearing of masks once again. Should this happen, we will review our position and issue any updated requirements as it happens.