SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — CoxHealth and Mercy have announced changes are coming to their masking policies.

According to a press release, CoxHealth will only require masks for workers, patients and visitors in settings where patients are at the greatest risk, such as oncology.

Mercy tells KOLR10 masks will be optional for all staff, patients and visitors unless a clinical space is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak or in cases of patients who are in isolation. Those with COVID-19 symptoms will also be asked to mask.

Unvaccinated Mercy staff will be asked to continue masking until at least March 31.

According to both CoxHealth and Mercy, data shows COVID-19 cases have stabilized. CoxHealth’s release says that’s based on lower overall hospitalizations, mortality and staff illness rates.

Starting March 15, masks will be optional for visitors and patients, but are still strongly encouraged in high-risk areas like oncology.

CoxHealth and Mercy say they will continue providing masks for those who choose to wear them.

Citizens Memorial Hospital has already made similar changes to its requirements.