Tuesday, May 18, 2021 San Juan Regional Medical Center Clarifies Mask Policy Following CDC Mask Guidelines

The latest CDC guidance has relaxed the mask requirements for fully vaccinated people, saying they no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations. Please note that this guidance does NOT apply to healthcare settings.

In order to do all we can to protect our vulnerable patient populations and each other from COVID-19, San Juan Regional Medical Center and our San Juan Health Partners clinics will continue to follow all current COVID-safe recommendations, including the use of PPE for our caregivers and mandatory masks for everyone who enters our facilities. Safety is our number one priority.

COVID-19 is still spreading in our community and is a threat to public health. There are still dozens of people hospitalized at San Juan Regional Medical Center who are very ill with COVID-19. While some areas of San Juan County have high vaccination rates, including the Navajo Nation, only about 30 percent of eligible people in eastern San Juan County have received their vaccine. It’s also important to note that full vaccination does not take effect until two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine in a two-dose series (Pfizer and Moderna) or two weeks after the single dose (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine.   

In accordance with the CDC and the State of New Mexico, we strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to get their COVID-19 vaccine and talk to their friends and family about doing the same. The vaccine is now available for ages 12 and up (Pfizer) and New Mexicans can register quickly and easily at

“With the possibility of continued emerging variants, we could be in a worse situation a year from now if we as a collective don’t get on board and strongly consider vaccination to achieve widespread protection,” said Dr. Erin Philpott, Hospitalist at San Juan Regional Medical Center. “On the individual level, there’s not a doubt in my mind of the benefit of getting any of the approved vaccines when compared to the risk of contracting and spreading COVID.”

“These vaccinations are safe and they work. It’s the right thing to do. It is the right thing to do for you, for your family, for your loved ones, and for us all together as a society to navigate our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Brad Greenberg, Emergency Physician and Medical Director of Emergency Preparedness for San Juan Regional Medical Center. “I would strongly encourage anyone who is on the fence to get their questions answered from a source that they trust and then make that appointment and go get vaccinated.”

Vaccination is the single most effective strategy we have to stop the pandemic and get back to normal. Vaccination is the key to relaxing the strenuous COVID-safe practices we’ve adopted for more than a year. But please remember that the CDC masking guidelines do not apply in every setting, including healthcare. Be mindful and wear a mask if asked to do so. Let’s all continue to work together to protect each other during this critical time.        

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