(The hill) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend universal masking in health care settings, unless the facilities are in areas with high prevalence of Covid-19.
The agency quietly released it. Updates As part of an update to its infection control guidelines, published Friday afternoon. It marks a major shift from the agency’s previous recommendation for universal masks.
The CDC’s new guidelines have been “updated to reflect the state of the art in vaccination and infection-prevention and effective treatments and prevention tools.”
Now, the CDC says facilities in high-prevalence states can “opt out” of requiring all doctors, patients and visitors to wear masks. Prevalence differs from community standards that CDC uses to guide non-healthcare settings.
Community transmission refers to measures of the presence and spread of SARS-CoV-2, the CDC said.
“It is currently the recommended measure to guide selected practices in health care settings to better protect individuals seeking care in these settings, before burdening the health care system,” the CDC said.
Currently, about 73 percent of America is experiencing “high” transmission rates.
The community standards “emphasize the impact of COVID-19 on community transmission in terms of the burden on hospitals and the health care system,” the CDC said.
Only 7 percent of counties are considered high risk, while nearly 62 percent of counties are considered low risk.
Additionally, the new guidance includes a list of exceptions when people choose to wear a mask, compared to the previous guidance which included exceptions where masking is not recommended.
Although wearing a mask is not universally required, a provider should wear a mask if they work in a facility that has experienced a Covid-19 outbreak or are caring for immunocompromised patients.
When transmission rates are high, masking is recommended for all healthcare workers while in a healthcare facility where they may come into contact with patients.
Providers can choose not to wear a mask when they are in “well-defined areas” that are restricted to patient access, such as staff meeting rooms.
Public health experts say the amendment would require people in hospitals and nursing homes to wear masks, putting patients and providers at risk.
Megan Raney, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health He tweeted. The new guidelines show sick patients who have not yet been tested for Covid-19, next to the elderly, chemo patients, people with pneumonia and vulnerable pregnant women, are areas of high transmission.
“This have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too approach has not worked once during the pandemic. People say, “No more masks!” He tweeted. Jerome Adams, who served as surgeon general during the Trump administration.