BELLINGHAM - PeaceHealth is requiring anyone with measles symptoms to wear a mask before entering its hospital or clinics in order to protect vulnerable patients, the organization announced Monday, April 7.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that is spread through breathing, coughing and sneezing. The virus can remain in the air for up to two hours after a contagious person has left.
Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose or rash.
People with those symptoms who are seeking treatment at a PeaceHealth doctor's office or the hospital emergency room, or going to its laboratories, should send in another person to explain their symptoms and ask for a mask.
People with symptoms who are trying to visit a patient might not be allowed to stay.
A total of six cases of measles have been reported in Whatcom County in recent days - five family members in one household and someone who visited them.
Public health officials have been urging people who aren't immunized to get vaccinated.
The Whatcom County cases are connected to a measles outbreak in Canada's Fraser Valley.
Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or firstname.lastname@example.org .