NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Five New Jersey hospitals are reinforcing mask mandates due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Ocean University Medical Center in Brick, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Stafford, Carrier Clinic in Montgomery and Old Bridge Medical Center will be going back to their pandemic protocols in regards to mask-wearing.
These five hospitals are run by Hackensack Meridian Health.
"This decision was made due to an increase in COVID-19 prevalence in these hospitals, facilities and communities," a spokesperson said in a statement. "The health and safety of our team members and patients has always been and continues to be our number one priority. Currently, masking is strongly encouraged, but not required at our other hospitals and facilities. We continue to closely monitor COVID-19 activity in our communities and other hospitals."
New Jersey has seen a spike in COVID-related hospitalizations and 558 people were hospitalized this week.
To put that number into perspective, there were 704 hospitalizations in March 2022 when the state's public health emergency ended.
There were 1,790 hospitalizations this past January during the height of the omicron outbreak.