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NGHS reinstated mask requirements for staff. Here’s why
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Nurses wearing masks work Monday, July 20, 2020, inside the emergency room at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center. - photo by Scott Rogers

Northeast Georgia Health System is reinstating a mask requirement beginning Tuesday, Jan. 3 for all employees and encouraging masks for patients and visitors due to the rise in respiratory illnesses. 

Visitation guidelines are not changing at this time. 

Across all NGHS hospitals, urgent care centers and physician offices, the positivity rate of COVID-19 tests is around 26%, flu test positivity rates are approaching 9% and RSV test positivity rates are approaching 2%, according to a news release Friday from the health system. 

The CDC lists Hall County’s COVID-19 community transmission as “high,” which means the virus is starting to spread faster.

NGHS is treating more than 80 people in its hospitals who have COVID-19, which is more than double the number from one month ago. NGHS also has an increasing number of employees who are missing shifts due to illness, with more than 125 callouts so far this week, the health system said.

Deepak Aggarwal, chief of NGHS’ medical staff, said the new guidelines are in line with other large health systems across the state. 

“Masking helps limit the spread of these viruses and other airborne diseases,” Aggarwal said. “We also continue to encourage people to get all vaccinations and boosters, if they haven’t already. All of these measures will hopefully help us avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and keep our community healthy and strong.”

Visit NGHS’s COVID-19 webpage to see the latest information about COVID-19, including where to get vaccinated.