COVID-19 Updates
IWK & COVID-19: Latest Updates
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Mask Policy

Updated: December 1, 2021 / 07:45 AM

Masking remains mandatory for all patients and support persons entering the IWK Health Centre and IWK Community Locations.

Wearing a mask helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and helps protect people who are around you. When worn properly, masks can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.

Patients and support persons can wear either a non-medical (cloth) or medical mask on arrival at IWK Health sites. Your mask can be a commercial non-medical mask or a homemade mask that covers your nose and mouth. If you do not have a mask, a mask will be given to you when you enter the IWK. At this time, when you arrive at the IWK at door screening, you will be asked to clean your hands, store your own mask and put on a medical mask provided by the IWK door screening staff to wear during your visit at IWK Health.

Patients who have symptoms of COVID-19 will be given a medical mask when they enter the IWK. Support people who have symptoms of COVID-19 should not come to the IWK and an alternate support person must be found. If a support person with symptoms must come to the IWK, they will also be given a medical mask when they enter the IWK.

Please note: masks with exhalation valves, clear plastic masks, bandannas and neck gaiters are not acceptable.


Exemptions to wearing a mask while at the IWK

Admitted patients and their support people do not have to wear a mask while they are alone in their room or while sleeping. When a health care provider enters the room, and physical distancing of 6ft cannot be maintained, we strongly encourage patients and support persons to wear a non-medical mask to help keep us safe. Children and babies two years of age and under do not need to wear a mask at any time.

People who would not need to wear a mask while at the IWK include:

  • Children 2 years and under
  • Children age 3 to 4 when their caregiver can’t get them to wear a mask
  • Patients with a valid medical reason for not wearing a mask, e.g. patients who have anxiety, cognitive or developmental disabilities who can’t wear a mask
  • Anyone who is unable to remove the mask without assistance

It is important to know that wearing a mask doesn’t worsen chronic lung conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


Children and masks

You may need to help your child get used to wearing a mask by practicing before your IWK visit. This could be through wearing a mask for short periods of time at home, putting a mask on a stuffed animal during play, or showing your child how they look in a mask at home. For more information on helping children with masks, please visit here.


Physical distancing, cough etiquette, and clean hands

While you are at the IWK, try to maintain physical distance (6 feet or 2 metres) from others wherever you can. Only two people or one patient/support people unit can ride in the same elevator at one time.


You should also make sure to keep your hands clean, and follow cough and sneeze etiquette, as well as mask wearing and practicing physical distancing, as these are the best ways to decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19.