CLEVELAND (WJW) — Cleveland Clinic is making masks optional for patients, visitors and caregivers at its U.S. facilities, starting Thursday, April 20.
But masks may still be required in certain units for vulnerable patients, and will continue to be provided in Clinic facilities, according to a Tuesday news release. They’re also highly encouraged for people with respiratory symptoms or people who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
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Also, caregivers will wear masks if patients request them, according to the release.
The policy will continue to be adjusted, and masks may come back in the fall to curb the spread of influenza and other respiratory viruses.
“We are able to safely make this change as COVID-19 cases have decreased, and the proportion of patients needing hospitalization for COVID-19 has dropped significantly. This is likely because a large population has at least some immunity from vaccination and/or prior infection, and we now have more tools available to treat COVID-19,” reads the release.
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Ohio’s two-week average of new cases per 100,000 residents has declined since the beginning of the year, as has Cuyahoga County’s.
Ohio had an average of 84.7 new cases for the two weeks ending April 5, down from 203.4 new cases for the two weeks ending Jan. 4, according to Ohio Department of Health data. Cuyahoga County’s average number fell from 217.6 new cases in early January to 95 new cases in early April.