NGHS updates mask guidelines

Published: Friday, December 30, 2022

Due to the recent steady rise in COVID-19, flu and RSV cases, Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is updating its masking guidelines. Beginning Tuesday, January 3, 2023, all employees, medical staff members and volunteers will be required to wear masks at all NGHS facilities in areas where they may encounter patients or visitors. Additionally, masks will be recommended and encouraged for patients and visitors – but not required. Visitation guidelines are not changing at this time. 

“Safety is our top priority,” said Deepak Aggarwal, MD, chief of NGHS’ Medical Staff. “While none of us are likely excited to wear masks each day, this change in guidelines is being made to help protect the health of our employees, patients, visitors and community. It’s also in line with guidelines provided by other large health systems across the state.”

Across all NGHS hospitals, urgent care centers and physician offices, the positivity rate of all COVID tests is around 26%, flu test positivity rates are approaching 9% and RSV test positivity rates are approaching 2%. The CDC lists Hall County’s COVID Community Transmission as “high” – which means the virus is starting to spread faster. Currently, NGHS is treating more than 80 people in its hospitals who have COVID, which is more than double the number from one month ago. NGHS also has an increasing number of employees who are missing shifts due to illness, with more than 125 callouts so far this week.

“Masking helps limit the spread of these viruses and other airborne diseases,” said Dr. Aggarwal. “We also continue to encourage people to get all vaccinations and boosters, if they haven’t already. All of these measures will hopefully help us avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and keep our community healthy and strong.”

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About Northeast Georgia Health System

Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is a non-profit on a mission of improving the health of our community in all we do. Our team cares for more than 1 million people across the region through four hospitals and a variety of outpatient locations. Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) has campuses in Gainesville, Braselton, Winder and Dahlonega – with a total of more than 750 beds and more than 1,200 medical staff members representing more than 60 specialties. Learn more at