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CDC clarifies mask guidance for healthcare settings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their guidance on Feb. 2022 regarding the use of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Shortly afterward, the CDC clarified that these new guidelines do not apply in healthcare settings. Instead, healthcare settings should continue to use community transmission rates and continue to follow CDC’s infection prevention and control recommendations for healthcare settings. The CDC’s standing recommendations regarding the use of masks in healthcare settings suggest that everyone in the health care setting wear a mask. However, CDC has also outlined allowances to consider when developing safety plans and operation plans for healthcare facilities. CDC indicates that whether an individual is vaccinated or if the healthcare facility is located in a county with low to moderate community transmission should be factors to consider in developing masking requirements. As this guidance from CDC is not state or federal law, Doctors of Optometry should consider these recommendations as well any state level requirements or mandates when developing masking policies.