VINCENNES, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Due to rising rates of the flu and RSV, as well as lingering COVID cases, one local hospital is raising its masking policy to a higher level.

Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes recently announced that effective Tuesday, universal masking will be required in all patient-facing areas of all Good Samaritan locations, as well as in all common areas within Good Samaritan.

The policy will remain in effect throughout the rest of the year.

“This decision reflects the overall picture at Good Samaritan from an increasingly concerning respiratory illness season,” Good Samaritan’s Chief Operating Officer Adam Thacker said.  “The projections at this time only point to a continued increase in respiratory illness due to a loosening of restrictions as compared to the previous two years, but also in large part due to an unfortunate increase in vaccine hesitancy.  Vaccination remains the single most effective tool in the toolbox for mitigating hospitalization and death.”

The announcement noted masks are an effective source control measure rooted in scientific data.

Good Samaritan said they would re-evaluate the community data as they approach the new year and determine policy moving forward.