Masks needed for Far West health site visitors

ANYONE visiting Wentworth District Hospital should now take their own mask or face covering.

Wearing a mask or face covering while visiting a patient in a Far West Local Health District (FWLHD) facility was made mandatory last Friday as part of new COVID-19 measures.

The rule also applies to anyone attending a medical appointment in a FWLHD health service.

NSW Health has also directed all health workers in public hospitals must now wear a surgical mask if they are working within 1.5 metres of patients.

Patients admitted to hospital are also strongly encouraged to wear a mask, especially when they are leaving their room, where possible.

A FWLHD spokesperson said the new NSW Health advice on mask use was underpinned by expert risk assessments and would assist the health service in the management of its supply of masks for use by staff and patients.

"Mask-wearing is another defence against COVID-19 but it is not a substitute for other established precautions such as hand hygiene and physical distancing," the spokesperson said.

"Wearing of face masks by the general population should be considered in situations where you are unable to maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres.

"Please avoid all non-essential visits to the hospital -- we want to minimise as much as we can non-essential foot traffic through the health service.

"This will help in the event of an outbreak and contact tracing is required.

"These are additional measures to those already in place at FWLHD health services to ensure patient and staff safety during the COVID-19 pandemic."

The spokesperson said individual circumstances affected by the new arrangements may be considered on a case-by-case basis through requests to health service management and the new arrangements would be in place indefinitely.