A surge in COVID-19 cases has prompted the West Australian government to reintroduce face mask rules at Perth public hospitals.
Staff and patients will be ordered to wear surgical masks in high-risk clinical areas from Monday, Premier Roger Cook says.
These include wards where vulnerable patients are being treated and intensive care, haematology, oncology, organ transplant and renal dialysis units.
“We need to do what we can to make sure we’re keeping each other safe – especially our most vulnerable,” Mr Cook said on Friday.
“It’s a simple measure that will reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help keep our most vulnerable safe.”
WA Chief Health Officer Dr Andy Robertson said COVID-19 cases had been increasing since early September.
“It’s an expected part of the ongoing evolution of COVID-19 in the community as people’s immunity wanes over time,” he said.
“Given the increase in COVID hospitalisations and health staff off sick, health service providers have agreed on consistent mask recommendations across our public health system.”
Surgical masks will also be recommended for staff and visitors in all public hospital clinical areas.
Dr Robertson said private hospitals and aged care facilities should also consider bolstering their mask-wearing rules for staff and visitors.
“COVID is very much still with us and my advice for the community remains the same – stay home if you are sick and do not visit high-risk settings such as aged care facilities and hospitals if you have cold or flu symptoms,” he said.
Dr Robertson said the public should consider wearing a mask in crowded indoor settings or where physical distancing is not possible and get a booster COVID-19 vaccination.