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What are the CDC’s current COVID-19 guidelines for healthcare workers?

CDC has updated their guidelines for healthcare settings to allow making mask optional for patients when Community Levels are low (green) to medium (yellow) and for health care providers (HCP) when Community Transmission  levels are not high (either low-blue, moderate-yellow, or orange-substantial).

Per CDC recommendations when to Implement Source Control Measures:

Source control refers to the use of respirators or well-fitting facemasks or cloth masks to cover a person’s mouth and nose to prevent spread of respiratory secretions when they are breathing, talking, sneezing, or coughing.

When SARS-CoV-2 Community Transmission levels are high, source control is recommended for everyone in a healthcare setting when they are in areas of the healthcare facility where they could encounter patients.

Healthcare providers (HCP) could choose not to wear source control when they are in well-defined areas that are restricted from patient access (e.g., staff meeting rooms) if they do not otherwise meet the criteria described below and Community Levels are not also high.

When Community Levels are high, source control is recommended for everyone.

When SARS-CoV-2 Community Transmission levels are not high, healthcare facilities could choose not to require universal source control.  However, even if source control is not universally required, it remains recommended for individuals in healthcare settings who:

  • Have suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection or other respiratory infection (e.g., those with runny nose, cough, sneeze); or
  • Had close contact(patients and visitors) or a higher-risk exposure (HCP) with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection, for 10 days after their exposure; or
  • Reside or work on a unit or area of the facility experiencing a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak; universal use of source control could be discontinued as a mitigation measure once no new cases have been identified for 14 days; or
  • Have otherwise had source control recommended by public health authorities.

Individuals might also choose to continue using source control based on personal preference, informed by their perceived level of risk for infection based on their recent activities (e.g., attending crowded indoor gatherings with poor ventilation) and their potential for developing severe disease.

If SARS-CoV-2 infection is not suspected in a patient presenting for care (based on symptom and exposure history), HCP should follow Standard Precautions (and Transmission-Based Precautions if required based on the suspected diagnosis).

News & Knowledge
All Curi recommendations are based on current CDC criteria at the time of publication. CDC guidance for SARS-CoV-2 infection may, or may not, be adopted by state and local health departments to respond to rapidly changing local circumstances. Providers should always check with their local health department to see if the CDC’s guidance on any given topic has been modified (particularly if more restrictive) from the CDC’s recommended guidelines. Follow this link https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/index.html for contact information to your state/local health department. If local recommendations vary from those of the CDC, and you are unsure what recommendations to follow, then it is safer to follow the more restrictive guidelines/recommendations.