LEWISTON — A mask mandate for those within the Central Maine Healthcare system will be lifted at the start of May, it was announced on Wednesday.

The CMH system includes Central Maine Medical Center, Rumford Hospital, Bridgton Hospital and numerous practices. The mandate will be lifted for patients, visitors and team members, according to a notice sent out Wednesday afternoon. The system will convert to a mask optional organization effective May 1.

According to hospital officials, the decision was made after decreasing rates of COVID-19 community transmission in Maine have been recorded in recent weeks and coincides with other Maine hospitals lifting their own masking mandates.

St. Mary’s Health System made the same move a little over a week ago, lifting the mask mandate at their facilities.

“This day has been a long time coming and is welcome news for many,” said John Alexander, chief medical officer with Central Maine Healthcare. “I would like to thank everyone for their patience with the masking requirement over the past three years as we all navigated the pandemic together and took the necessary measures to keep the community safe. All of us at Central Maine Healthcare look forward to sharing a smile with our patients, visitors and each other.”

There are some exceptions to the lifting of the mask mandate, according to CMH officials: those who are experiencing respiratory illness and anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 10 days will still be required to mask while at Central Maine Healthcare facilities.


Also, masking will still be required in certain places and circumstances in the CMH system, including the ICU, the Cancer Care Center and infusion suites.

“Central Maine Healthcare will honor the wishes of those who want to continue to wear a mask and continue providing them upon request,” hospital officials wrote. “During interactions with patients, team members will wear masks if patients request them to do so.”

Hospital officials said they continue to monitor COVID-19 transmission rates and will adjust the new rules as necessary.

St. Mary’s effectively ended their mandates for most employees, contractors, volunteers, patients, and visitors at their clinics and hospital on April 17.

“We will respect and support the decision of any employee, contractor, volunteer, patient, or visitor who wishes to continue masking and will ensure masks are readily available throughout all of our facilities,” they wrote when the move was announced. “Masking will still be required for any individual with respiratory infection symptoms, a recent COVID infection or exposure or as otherwise required in our standard infection control plan. While we know this is welcome news to many of you, please feel free to reach out if you have additional questions about this new policy.”

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