CHICAGO — Advocate Health Care is making some major policy changes regarding their COVID procedures.

Masks will be optional starting Monday with no limit to patient visitors and doctors with Advocate say the time is right.

Dr. Robert Citronberg, executive medical director of infectious disease and prevention of Advocate Health Care

Now with the climbing rate of community transmission in all the counties in Illinois

“Now with the declining rate of transmission in all the counties in Illinois in places where we serve patients, we are now able to remove that masking requirement,” Dr. Robert Citronberg, the executive medical director of infectious disease said.

There are some exceptions to the mask optional and visitation rules such as only two visitors at a time will be allowed with the patients in general pediatrics and the ICU. Masks will continue to be required for visitors of transmission-based isolation, that is if visitors are there with COVID, they will need a mask or if a patient’s doctor orders that masks are worn.

Advocate Health says they have been monitoring COVID transmission rates for seven weeks before making this decision. While changes will start on Monday, they do not want them to give the assumption of going back to pre-pandemic rules.

“Patient safety is always our top priority and not only for the safety of our patients but for the safety of our teammates as well to maintain a safe environment. I am reluctant to use the term ‘pre-pandemic’ because we are never going back to pre-pandemic. We are taking the learning and applying to our policies going forward.”