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The Centers for Disease Control has changed its position on mandatory masking in health care settings, no longer recommending that it be universal.
It's a "major departure" from the CDC's previous recommendation of universal masking to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, The Hill says.
"Updates were made to reflect the high levels of vaccine-and infection-induced immunity and the availability of effective treatments and prevention tools," the CDC's new guidance says.
The agency now says that facilities in areas without high transmission can decide for themselves whether to require everyone — doctors, patients, and visitors — to wear masks.
Community transmission "is the metric currently recommended to guide select practices in healthcare settings to allow for earlier intervention, before there is strain on the healthcare system and to better protect the individuals seeking care in these settings," the CDC said.
About 73 percent of the country is having "high" rates of transmission, The Hill says.
"Community transmission" is different from the "community level" metric that's used for non-health care settings.
Community transmission refers to measures of the presence and spread of SARS-CoV-2, the CDC says. "Community levels place an emphasis on measures of the impact of COVID-19 in terms of hospitalizations and healthcare system strain, while accounting for transmission in the community."
Just 7% of counties are considered high risk, while nearly 62 percent are low.
The new guidance applies wherever health care is delivered, including nursing homes and home health, the CDC says.
The Hill: "CDC no longer recommends universal masking in health facilities"
CDC: "Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic"
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Cite this: CDC: Masking No Longer Required in Healthcare Settings - Medscape - Sep 29, 2022.