LVHN addresses masking throughout the network as the Delta variant ramps up

Written by on July 8, 2021

LVHN addresses masking throughout the network as the Delta variant ramps up

By Brittany Sweeney

July 8, 2021

Photo | Brittany Sweeney / WLVR

The masking mandate across the state has been lifted but some health care facilities are still requiring face coverings. A Lehigh Valley doctor says he doesn’t expect that requirement to change in the hospital as the Delta variant moves through the U.S.

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Dr. Alex Benjamin is Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Chief Infection Control and Prevention officer.

He says health care workers within the network will continue to wear masks, especially as the Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads in the U.S.

“It would not be unheard of for something to, you know, think about stepping down for masking and then all of a sudden in two weeks, three weeks cases go up and we have to turn right back around and put masks back on. So I think you know from a conservative standpoint, it’s just easier, less confusion if we continue to stick to masking,” Benjamin says. 

He says the variant spreads faster and cases could increase over the next few weeks.

“For patients who are visiting their primary care doctor, going to physical therapy, going to the lab, coming to visit, coming to the hospital, masking is still required,” he says. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires health care workers to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone wear masks where people tend to be unvaccinated.

LVHN also made the announcement that masks are optional at their fitness locations.

In administrative buildings where staff do not have any contact with patients there are exceptions to the masking policy, Benjamin says.

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