Published on: 25th September 2022

From Monday 26 September, staff at RNOH will no longer be mandated to wear face masks. Any patients or visitors who would feel more reassured by staff wearing masks are encouraged to ask a member of staff to wear one and they will oblige.

Masks will still be available freely should patients or visitors choose to wear one whilst at RNOH. If masks are not immediately available, please ask a member of staff for assistance and they will be happy to help.

Throughout the pandemic, national guidelines have required a combination of preventive measures to protect patients and staff from COVID-19.  At RNOH, this has included social distancing measures, use of PPE, routine staff testing, in addition to existing standard infection prevention and control (IPC) practices.

With the continued rollout of the national vaccination programme, information about the emerging new variants of the virus, and the consequence of seasonal changes, we are seeing an ever-changing infection rate of respiratory illnesses - including influenza, parainfluenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), as well as COVID-19.

The Trust has put in place a strategy to guide appropriate IPC measures in response to pre-set national, regional, and local indicators. The Infection Prevention and Control Team will recommend escalation or de-escalation of preventive measures according to the current situation or infection prevalence.   

Please be aware that preventive measures de-escalated during periods of low prevalence may need to be reinstated in accordance to changing indicators / thresholds, as can be expected in winter season with an increase in respiratory viral infections.

All other IPC standard practices and protocols remain, including:

  • Good hand hygiene practices and respiratory etiquette by staff, patients and visitors
  • Clinical and non-clinical areas being adequately ventilated, either by air handling units or natural ventilation by opening windows and doors
  • Standard cleaning and decontamination of equipment and the environment.