The University of Maryland Medical System will lift its mask requirement March 29. Photo by Marcus Dieterle.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify that face masks will still be required for all patient contact.

Starting March 29, the University of Maryland Medical System will no longer require the wearing of face masks in their medical facilities for visitors and employees who are not in contact with patients.

Speaking with WBAL NewsRadio, UMMS President and CEO Dr. Mohan Suntha said the medical system was encouraged by increased vaccinations and other positive trends to return to what he called “level green,” including the lifting of their mask mandate “for all visitors who come into the medical center … [and] for our workforce in terms of interacting with our communities.”

“We are seeing now as a consequence of both the impact of vaccination, the impact of immunity, the impact of therapies, we are thankfully at a very different place relative to the pandemic associated with COVID-19,” Suntha said in the radio interview. “We are seeing a return to far more societal norms and normalcy as a consequence of where we are.”

Masking will still be required for all patient contact. That includes when entering patients’ rooms, providing direct care to patients, transporting patients, when a patient requests a staff member to wear a mask, and other circumstances. Patients should also be asked to wear a mask for their safety when they are in close contact with others, UMMS officials said.

Unvaccinated employees must wear an N95 respirator for patient contact, and at least a KN95 at all other times, UMMS officials added.

About 5 million Marylanders have received at least one complete dosage of a COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 4.6 million Marylanders went on to receive at least on booster shot, according to state data.

UMMS will lift its mask requirement across all of its member organizations on Wednesday.

The change comes nearly three years after UMMS made mask-wearing mandatory.

Other Maryland hospitals and medical institutions, including Johns Hopkins Medicine, LifeBridge Health, MedStar Health, and Mercy Hospital continue to list on their websites that patients and visitors must wear a mask.

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at marcus@baltimorefishbowl.com...

3 replies on “University of Maryland Medical System to lift mask requirement, with exception for direct patient contact”

  1. They are requiring their employees to still wear face masks during face to face interactions with patients but for patients it is optional. Staff do not need to be masked when not doing direct patient care.

  2. This title is misleading given the new information that masks are required for all patient interaction. Please amend the title. People will think masks are not required at all.

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