April 03, 2020
Richmond, VA—HCA Virginia announced today that all staff and providers in all patient care areas will now wear masks, expanding their use beyond suspected or positive COVID-19 cases. This initiative will increase the protection of staff, healthcare providers, patients, and others in our hospitals.
Masks will be optional only for staff in non-patient care areas who can consistently maintain social distancing of at least six feet during brief interactions with colleagues. All visitors and patients presenting for outpatient testing will also be required to wear masks.
HCA Virginia’s top priority is protecting our patients, clinicians, nurses, and colleagues so we can best serve our communities throughout this pandemic. HCA Virginia hospitals are taking this step now because of evidence that social distancing, while a key strategy for interrupting the spread of coronavirus, is difficult to maintain in the busy patient care environment.
HCA Virginia’s latest analysis indicates that it has ample personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies available to meet the demand for additional use of masks pursuant to this new policy. Even though HCA Virginia currently has adequate supplies of PPE, its hospitals will continue to take steps to conserve it.
HCA Virginia facilities are now deploying three types of masks, depending on the clinical role, the type of care the patient is receiving, and the level of suspicion for infection with COVID.
- Level I “procedure” masks for all staff not needing higher levels of protection. These masks can also be used for caring for suspected or confirmed COVID patients when paired with a full face shield.
- Level 3 masks for additional protection from fluids and droplets, and for use by staff caring directly for suspected COVID or COVID positive patients, except when performing aerosolized procedures.
- N-95 respirators for staff caring for suspected COVID or COVID positive patients, and are the only mask that should be used during aerosolizing procedures, such as intubation, nebulization, bronchoscopy, or suctioning.
Professionals in the HCA Virginia supply chain have continually worked with epidemiologists and data scientists to track use and anticipated demand of PPE so stock can be allocated appropriately. HCA Virginia staff are also working around the clock to safeguard existing supplies and secure additional shipments.