Atrium Health Updates Masking Requirements in Health Care Facilities

03.27.2023 Atrium Health News

Steady decline in COVID cases, effective vaccines prompt changes

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 27, 2023 After careful consideration and extensive review of scientific data, medical leaders at Atrium Health have decided to discontinue mandatory masking in many of its health care settings where the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is minimal. There are still areas and circumstances where masking will be required.

Many factors went into making an informed decision to no longer require masks in certain areas, including:

  • The widespread availability of protective vaccines.
  • A steady decline in COVID-19 positive cases and hospitalizations across the Southeast U.S.
  • Community habits returning to pre-pandemic levels.

“The decision to make masking optional was not taken lightly, as we considered the tens of thousands of our patients, teammates and visitors this decision will impact,” said Dr. Katie Passaretti, vice president and chief epidemiologist for Atrium Health. “From the beginning of the pandemic, we have followed what the science tells us, and now it shows that, for many people, it is safe for a mask to be optional. We recognize some people may choose to mask because of personal preference or individual health matters and we encourage anyone who feels this way to continue wearing their mask. We also encourage patients to let us know if they prefer that their direct care team wear a mask.”

Masking at Atrium Health hospitals, clinics and other facilities may still be required in certain areas where higher levels of infection prevention are needed. These may include units where cancer patients and others with low immunity are being treated, as well as emergency department waiting rooms and triage areas. It may also include rooms where highly infectious patients with a respiratory virus – such tuberculosis, flu, COVID-19 and pertussis – are being cared for or any area or unit with an identified cluster of illness.

Patients who are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness such as flu, RSV or COVID, or had a known exposure to someone with COVID-19 in the past 10 days, should wear a well-fitted mask that covers their nose and mouth. Visitors who are experiencing symptoms are asked to stay home. Patients and visitors at Atrium Health facilities may be asked to wear a mask at any time, based on the type of symptoms being experienced by the patient or circumstances specific to their patient population or practice at any given location.

Atrium Health continues to encourage all patients, teammates and the community to stay up to date with all recommended COVID-19, flu and other vaccines recommended by your health care provider.

Masking has been an effective measure for the last three years to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help keep our communities healthy. Masks will still be available at Atrium Health facilities for anyone who chooses to wear one.

Patients may also request their direct care team wear a mask if it makes them feel more comfortable.

Atrium Health is joining Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, CaroMont Health, Cone Health, Randolph Health and Novant Health in lifting the restrictions at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, to prevent confusion among the public and to avoid a patchwork of varying restrictions. This unified response is designed to eliminate confusion.

More information regarding optional masking locations and FAQs can be found at

About Atrium Health
Atrium Health is a nationally recognized leader in shaping health outcomes through innovative research, education and compassionate patient care. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Atrium Health is an integrated, nonprofit health system with more than 70,000 teammates serving patients at 40 hospitals and more than 1,400 care locations. Atrium Health is part of Advocate Health, the fifth-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, which was created from the combination with Advocate Aurora Health. It provides care under the Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist name in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, region, as well as Atrium Health Navicent and Atrium Health Floyd in Georgia and Alabama. Atrium Health is renowned for its top-ranked pediatric, cancer and heart care, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. A recognized leader in experiential medical education and groundbreaking research, Wake Forest University School of Medicine is the academic core of the system, including Wake Forest Innovations, which is advancing new medical technologies and biomedical discoveries. Atrium Health is also a leading-edge innovator in virtual care and mobile medicine, providing care close to home and in the home. Ranked nationally among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals in eight pediatric specialties and for rehabilitation, Atrium Health has also received the American Hospital Association’s Quest for Quality Prize and its 2021 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award, as well as the 2020 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Health Equity Award for its efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in care. With a commitment to every community it serves, Atrium Health seeks to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing – for all, providing $2.46 billion last year in free and uncompensated care and other community benefits.