Blessing brings back mask rules following rise in illnesses

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 12:37 PM CST
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QUINCY (WGEM) - Starting Monday, masks will be back at all Blessing Health facilities.

Blessing announced Thursday that beginning Dec. 5, patients and visitors entering any Blessing Health clinic or hospital in the region must wear a mask to protect patients, visitors and employees as respiratory illness levels rise.

“Over the past week, the level of community transmission of COVID-19 in most communities served by Blessing Health reached the level of “High” as reported by the Centers for Disease Control,” said Dr. Mary Frances Barthel, chief quality and safety officer for Blessing Health. “When a community is in high level of transmission of COVID-19, federal guidelines state that universal masking in all health care settings is recommended.”

Masks are available at all public entrances to Blessing Health clinics and hospitals.

“Blessing has experienced a sharp increase in sick visits to the Express Clinic, increased positivity rate of testing, increase in hospitalized patients, and outbreaks among staff,” Barthel said.

“Now that we have all three viruses active at the same time, it is a bigger concern so probably the number one thing especially when we’re talking about visiting and things like that around the holidays is stay home if you’re sick, you know don’t go to work if you’re sick, don’t go to grandma’s if you’re sick,” said Barthel. “Stay home, get rest, get better.”

Barthel recommends that everyone eligible get their flu shot and ensure they are up-to-date on COVID boosters. The drive-thru Blessing Express Clinic at 34th and Broadway in Quincy offers both vaccines and testing for respiratory illnesses.

Testing and flu vaccines are available anytime while Blessing Express Clinic is open, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. COVID boosters are available on select days and times by appointment only. Call 217-214-9626 to schedule.

Primary care providers and many area health departments also offer vaccines.

Since Thanksgiving, inpatient COVID cases at Blessing Hospital have increased to an average census of 15, with inpatient influenza admission totaling seven, including two in the Intensive Care unit.

The COVID positivity rate for Adams and Pike counties stands at 10.23%, with new cases per 100,000 population at 181 at the last report.

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