Nebraska Medicine making masks optional, beginning April 3

Nebraska Medicine, together with the health systems in Omaha, effective Monday, April 3, is announcing that wearing masks in its hospitals and health centers will be optional for colleagues, visitors and patients.

Masks no longer will be required for those who are not experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness or no known exposure to COVID-19. Masks still will be required in specific circumstances. A masking requirement may return in the future if circumstances change. 

Masks will be optional for: 

  • Asymptomatic patients, staff, visitors, volunteers and vendors. Masks will remain available at entrances and locations.   

Masking will continue to be required for: 

  • Staff and visitors in the rooms of patients with respiratory/droplet/airborne infectious health conditions (isolation precautions).
  • Patients and colleagues with symptoms of respiratory illness.  
  • Areas where routine infection prevention measures are required per protocols. 
  • When requested by patients or family members due to personal health risks. 
  • Specific circumstances/areas as directed by clinical leadership. 

Please remember the current guidelines remain in place, and masks still are required until Monday, April 3. 

COVID-19 admission testing 

Beginning Monday, April 3, Nebraska Medicine will no longer test asymptomatic patients who are being admitted to the hospital. Testing should occur for symptomatic individuals, as part of differential work up, or at provider discretion. 

COVID-19 still is with us and likely will remain so for the foreseeable future. However, we are now in a much different place. We know more and we have vaccines that are extremely safe and effective in preventing serious disease and death. We now have oral medications that help prevent progression of disease. Hospitals are better suited to treat patients with COVID-19 infections.   

It remains critically important that colleagues and people in our community continue to do things such as frequent handwashing, staying home when sick and wearing a mask around those who are vulnerable to infection. Our message will continue to be current with vaccinations and take precautions to protect your health and the health of others. 

“The collective efforts of many have allowed us to navigate unchartered waters, protecting the health and safety of our patients and colleagues alike … and for that we should be grateful,” said Michael Ash, MD, Nebraska Medicine’s executive vice president – chief operating officer.