Plattsburgh, NY- Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital will no longer require masking after asking patients to wear masks due to an uptick in cases in late Sept.

Masking will be optional starting Oct. 28th, according to a release from the UVM Health Network. However, patients and visitors are asked to wear a mask if they have symptoms of respiratory illness such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

There may be some situations where visitors are required to wear a mask if they’re visiting patients in isolation or if the patient is under protective measures.

Erica Moore, the hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control Manager, wrote, “Reducing risk for our patients, people entering our facilities and our staff is critical so we can continue providing care. We are asking visitors to join us in that effort.”

According to Carly Haag, the Associate Chief Nursing Officer at SVPH, there were roughly 40-50 employees out of work due to COVID-19, and about 20 patients were hospitalized with the virus at the end of Sept.

Officials say data shows decreasing levels of COVID-19 in the region, marking an end to a minor outbreak that led to the masking requirements returning. Protocols are in place to determine if and when making will be required.

There have been some concerns among experts about the rate at which people are getting the new versions of the COVID-19 shot.

“COVID-19 is not going away, unfortunately,” Moore said. “And we always want to do what is right for our patients and our staff. Protecting them is always front and center.”