The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) regularly evaluates and adjusts procedures, such as masking guidelines, as COVID-19 conditions change in our communities. 

As the number of new cases and hospitalizations have changed, our masking policy has evolved to reflect the current conditions. 

While masks are an important tool for keeping patients safe in some settings, we understand that there are other times when they may not be necessary for everyone.

Current Masking Guidelines

Most of the time, masks are not required for patients, visitors and staff in our facilities. Please note the following times when masks are required:

  • If a patient requests that a visitor wear a mask or staff members do so when they are providing care
  • When care partners are visiting or staff members are providing care to a high-risk patient — often this is when someone has a suppressed immune system, but other conditions may apply
  • When care partners are visiting or staff members are providing care to any patient who is inside an area dedicated to immunosuppressed patients (for example, an oncology or transplant ward or clinic, infusion center) or in any other area that the provider or leadership has designated as having high-risk patients

Look for signage to let you know when asks are required or ask a staff member.

We ask that patients who have COVID-like, respiratory symptoms, e.g., coughing, sneezing, etc., do wear a mask. We also ask that visitors (care partners) who come along with patients who have COVID symptoms also wear a mask due to their exposure to the person with symptoms. 

If patients prefer that staff members wear a mask when giving care, we will gladly accommodate that preference.  And, of course, patients, visitors and staff members may always choose to wear masks in situations where one is not required. 

If you need or want a mask but do not have one, we can provide you with one.

When masks are required, keep in mind:

  • Masks should cover the nose and mouth without any gaps. 
  • We encourage the use of a well-fitting, high-quality mask, such as an N95 or KN95.
  • Cloth masks are allowed, but medical masks are preferred. 
  • Neck gaiters and masks with exhalation ports are not allowed.

Learn more about the best types of masks to protect you from COVID.

Updated May 11, 2023