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Federal officials are providing updated guidance on masking in health care facilities now that the COVID-19 public health emergency has ended.
With the end of the public health emergency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) no longer is collecting the case data that were used to assist with decisions on use of masks. The CDC now recommends health care facilities consider the risk level of the patients they care for, input from patients and personnel, the plans of other facilities in the community and other data sources.
The CDC will continue to collect and report COVID hospitalization data on a county level, which can help determine whether masks are needed. Health care facilities also may have data available from local health authorities. In addition, the CDC recommends considering metrics for other respiratory viruses using its RESP-NET interactive dashboard, emergency department data for COVID, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus and its influenza dashboard. Some facilities may want to encourage masking during the typical respiratory virus season from October through April.
Even when a health care facility does not require masking, the CDC recommends people take their own risk level into account when deciding whether to wear a mask or respirator. Individuals should continue to follow CDC’s masking guidance if they have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID. Health care personnel also should adhere to the CDC’s standard infection prevention and control practices and transmission-based precautions.
Project Firstline is holding a virtual town hall on infection prevention and control for health care professionals at 12:30 p.m. ET May 16. The event will include a panel of health care professionals discussing how they operationalize the updated recommendations. Register at https://bit.ly/PFLCDC. A recording also will be available.
CDC interim COVID-19 guidance on infection control and prevention for health care personnel