Winter is here in Massachusetts and with that comes sick season. A community uptick in respiratory viruses as well as bacterial infections has prompted two hospitals in western Massachusetts to implement strict masking rules as well as a temporary ban on individuals under 18 who wish to visit inpatient friends or family.

Hospitals In Mass. Not Allowing Anyone Under 18 To Visit

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Berkshire Health Systems of Berkshire County (Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield and Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington) and any other medical facility under the BHS umbrella, as of Wednesday morning, are requiring that all staff, patients, and visitors mask up at all times to help mitigate the spread of infection until further notice.

In response to the significant levels of all respiratory illnesses that we are seeing throughout our healthcare facilities and in our community at this time, BHS has decided to implement mandatory universal masking for all patients, visitors, and staff.
Mandatory masking for patients, visitors, and staff will begin on Wednesday, January 3 at 8:00am.

We have also updated our visitor policy to manage the risk of infection within our facilities by prohibiting anyone under 18 from visiting at this time. No visitors under 18 are allowed due to the current high incidence of respiratory illnesses.


Exception to the under 18 guideline:

Birth partners and parents of patients who are under 18 years old and caregivers for patients with a disability or special needs are considered Designated Caregivers and are not considered visitors. Designated Caregivers can stay with the patient outside of visiting hours. The presence of a birth partner, parent, or caregiver is not counted in the number of visitors for a patient.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past ten days or if you have any respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, or runny nose, please do not visit or accompany any patients for care.

The spread of RSV, Covid-19, Flu, and other viruses that normally circulate after holiday gatherings is not expected to peak until mid-January. BHS employees were also implored to get vaccinated for flu and COVID.

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