Catalonia demands the end of masks in hospitals, residences and pharmacies

The Generalitat of Catalunya has asked the Ministry of Health, through a letter, the end of masks in the only places where they are still required: hospitals, nursing homes, health care, dentists and pharmacies, according to ‘TV-3’ and confirmed by EL PERIÓDICO. Countries like Portugal have already taken this measure, although some epidemiologists are in favor of keeping them in these spaces to protect the vulnerable people. According to sources from Health, the ‘conselleria’, in addition to requesting “a change in the protocol for the use of masks” in all these spaces, also wants to end isolation in nursing homes.

Salut has taken this measure (expected to a certain extent because other experts such as Fernando Simon have advanced that face masks will no longer be mandatory in pharmacies and hospitals “soon”) has taken this measure without speaking to the covid-19 scientific advisory committee in Catalonia, according to what EL PERIÓDICO has learned. This body is quite deactivated and only meets to decide on broader issues, such as persistent covid or mental health. Some members of this committee They consider it a mistake to remove the masks of hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies, especially for the increase in infections after Easter.

The obligation to wear masks is a state Competition, so communities cannot decide to remove the standard. Since February 8, masks are no longer worn on public transport. the epidemiologist Fernando Simon He said today that he believes they will no longer be mandatory in pharmacies and hospitals “soon”.

As the Secretary of Public Health told regional television, Carmen Cabezas, Salut is in favor of the use of the mask “when necessary”. Thus, Cabezas bets that they use masks people with respiratory diseases in the event that they care for an elderly person, as well as the workers of the respiratory disease units. Salut is committed to using the mask only when people have any symptoms of disease (including in residences), and that nevertheless hand hygiene continues to be maintained.

Letter to the ministry

Dr. Cabezas has sent a Letter to the Public Health Commission of the Ministry of Health and the presentation of alerts so that “the covid protocol is adapted to the current epidemiological situation”, marked by omicron and vaccination. “We’ve had a low virus circulation level and with indicators of severity that are similar to those of other respiratory infections, such as the flu. Therefore, we want the protocol to be adapted and a global approach to these types of respiratory diseases to be made,” that letter stated.

According to ‘TV-3’, the email was sent three weeks ago. And, for 10 days, a working group has been underway to analyze the petition, in which the Generalitat participates.

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Cabezas has highlighted the high vaccination coverage especially in residences, with the second booster dose (the fourth dose), and the fact that there is a large population with hybrid Immunization, because he has received the vaccine and has passed the disease.

And he has given some figures to illustrate the change of context. Now there is 310 people admitted with a positive covid test, “which does not mean admitted for covid”, he pointed out. Last year there were 900 and 2 years ago there were almost 2,000. In the ICUs, there are now 14 people with positive test, far from the indicators of other years.