New York ending mask requirement in hospitals

Beginning Sunday, February 12, New Yorkers will no longer have to wear masks inside hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities, bringing an end to one of the state's final remaining COVID-era mandates.

The requirement had required masking among patients, visitors, and staff at healthcare facilities, whether they were vaccinated or not.

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"March 1st represents 3 years since the first COVID-19 case was identified in New York," Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Health care workers statewide have performed consistently and heroically throughout this pandemic, and have used masking and other personal protective equipment to protect themselves and their patients. The pandemic is not over, yet we are moving to a transition. As we do, and with safe and effective vaccines, treatments, and more, we are able to lift the State's masking requirement in health care settings as operators now develop and implement their own facility-specific plans, in accordance with federal CDC guidance and the level of transmission in their areas."

The requirement had been extended in late 2022, but as COVID cases continue to drop statewide, officials decided to make the shift.

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Healthcare facilities in the state will not be asked to follow CDC guidelines and create their own guidelines for masking.

A little over a week ago, President Joe Biden announced that he would end the twin national emergencies for addressing COVID-19 on May 11, nearly three years after they were first declared.