The Oregon Health Authority announced that workers, patients and visitors in health care settings will no longer be required to wear masks starting April 3. The mask requirement has been in effect since August 2021. In addition, an executive order that gave hospitals flexibility to respond to surges in respiratory infections will expire on Monday. The decision to end statewide health care mask requirements aligns with decisions in other states, including Washington. State epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger said the lifting of Oregon’s health care mask requirement stems from data in recent weeks showing overall decreases in circulation of the three respiratory pathogens that triggered a surge in visits to hospital emergency departments and intensive care units last fall. He added the month-long lead-up to the ending of Oregon’s health care mask requirement gives the health care system time to prepare for the change. The OHA advises people at higher risk for severe disease, or who live with someone at higher risk, should still consider wearing masks in health care or any settings. Some health care settings may continue to require masks even after the requirement is lifted.