MCMC Announces Universal Masking Policy

Mid-Columbia Medical Center is now requiring anyone entering its facilities to wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth. The universal masking policy applies to all MCMC staff, patients and visitors, regardless of symptoms, and applies to the hospital as well as all MCMC clinics.

“When you wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth, you are helping to contain the respiratory droplets that naturally occur when you breathe, talk, sneeze, or cough,” said Donald T. Wenzler, chief nursing officer at MCMC. “That is why your mask protects others, and their masks protect you.”

To conserve supplies, cloth or homemade masks should be brought from home. Those who arrive without a mask will be provided with one to use throughout their visit. Patients may only remove their mask when they are alone in a hospital room or exam room.

“When you wear a mask, you help us keep our facilities safe,” said Wenzler. “Please understand, we aren't asking you to wear a mask to protect yourself from the hospital or clinic. We are asking everyone to wear masks to protect our facilities from community-spread germs. Your mask protects our hospital and clinical environments, our healthcare workforce, and everyone around you.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is understandable that people are hesitant to go to public places, but do not delay seeking needed care. Delaying care may result in poorer overall health outcomes and even life-threatening situations.

For example, life-saving treatment for stroke must be administered within the first few hours of the onset of symptoms. Delayed stroke treatment could lead to permanent disability or death.

“Our community should not be afraid to seek care right now,” said Wenzler. “We are here for you, and we are doing everything possible to ensure your health care visit is safe.”

Because of this new universal masking policy, MCMC is seeking additional donations of homemade fabric masks. The donation drop-off bin is located outside of the Human Resources office, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 1726 E. 12th Street, The Dalles.