In line with the national Living with COVID plan, guidance has been released that will allow the step down of the formal requirement for mask wearing by healthcare workers, patients and visitors, in many healthcare settings.

In Somerset, our prevalence appears to be settling, and the risks of serious complications for most patients and colleagues has been mitigated by our excellent vaccination programme. So the option to not wear a mask will apply in most situations.

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

  • Have any viral-like symptoms, including a cough or cold, or COVID-19 – this includes attending appointments, or coming to A&E or a minor injuries unit
  • Are visiting loved ones who are higher risk – this could be elderly relatives or patients who are immunocompromised.

If you feel unwell with a cold or virus, or have COVID-19, please avoid visiting any healthcare settings unless you need medical treatment.

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 appropriate that we implement this guidance, but it will be kept under review and if we see a further serious rise in prevalence, increased outbreaks, or a new variant of concern, we will review this new position and issue any updated requirements.