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Cleveland Clinic making masks optional for patients, visitors and caregivers beginning Thursday

The Cleveland Clinic has announced that masking at its facilities will be optional beginning on Thursday.

CLEVELAND — More than three years after the COVID-19 pandemic first began, the Cleveland Clinic is making an adjustment to its mask policy.

On Tuesday, the Cleveland Clinic announced that beginning on Thursday, April 20, masking will be optional for patients, visitors and caregivers in its U.S. facilities. The Clinic noted that masking "may still be required on certain units dedicated to the care of particularly vulnerable patients and is highly encouraged for those with respiratory symptoms or who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19."

Masks will also continue to be available for use at all Cleveland Clinic facilities.

The Clinic said that it arrived at its decision to make masking optional based on a decrease in COVID-19 cases and cases requiring hospitalization, likely due to a large portion of the population having some form of immunity from vaccination and/or prior infection. If a patient prefers that their provider wear a mask, the Clinic says that the caregiver will do so.

"We will continue to adjust our policies to best serve our communities," the Clinic said in a release. "This may include requiring masking again in the fall, to help limit the spread of influenza and other respiratory viruses among patients and caregivers."

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