11.27.2019 Back to News

No Flu Shot? Follow These Masking Requirements

Flu Season Is Underway  

If you have not received a flu shot, the following mask requirements are in effect at Methodist Hospital, Methodist Women’s Hospital, Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital and Methodist Fremont Health as of Monday, Nov. 25:

  • Masks must be worn in all patient care areas. A patient care area is defined as all nursing units (even while at a nurse station) or any area where an unvaccinated employee may come in contact with patients, visitors or staff. This also applies to departments that serve patients, i.e., Radiology, Surgery, Emergency, Physical Therapy, etc. Areas where staff who decline vaccination do not have to wear a mask include the department’s break room or the cafeteria for meals.
  • Masks can be obtained from your supervisor.

If you have not received a flu shot, the following mask requirements are in effect at Methodist Physicians Clinic locations:

  • You must wear a mask daily from the time the first patient arrives in the clinic until the last patient leaves.
  • This requirement was effective Oct. 15, 2019, and continues through April 30, 2020.

How should I respond to a patient/family who asks why I’m wearing a mask?

Here are two options:

  1. You could respond by saying, “I have not been vaccinated for the flu, so I’m wearing this mask to protect you.”
  2. You could respond by saying, “I haven’t had the flu vaccine. I don’t have flu symptoms now, but the virus can be spread before I might develop symptoms, so I’m wearing the mask to protect you.”

How do I put on and remove my surgical mask? 

To apply mask:

  1. Secure the ties or elastic band at the middle of the head and neck; or place ear loops around the ears
  2. Fit the flexible band to the bridge of the nose
  3. Fit snug to the face and below the chin

To remove mask:

  1. Remember, the mask is contaminated
  2. Grasp ONLY the bottom ties, then the top ties/elastic and remove
  3. Discard in a waste container

Can I untie my mask and wear it around my neck until I need to wear it again?

No. Once a mask is removed, it is considered contaminated and should be discarded. Masks must also be replaced if they become moistened, soiled or torn during use.

Do I have to discard the mask after I’ve been in a Droplet Precaution Room, or can I continue to wear it? 

You must remove the mask before leaving the room and discard it in the trash. The front of the mask is contaminated.

For questions about wearing a mask, call Methodist Infection Prevention & Control at (402) 354-8715. At Methodist Jennie Edmundson, call Infection Prevention at (712) 396-4404. At Methodist Fremont Health, call Infection Control at (402) 727-3713.

To print a copy of the mask guidelines/FAQs, or to view other resources such as how to receive your free flu shot, see the Flu Shot Campaign page, accessible from the home page of the mhsintranet.

Thank you for your support of safe patient care!