On September 23 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their COVID-19 infection prevention recommendations for healthcare personnel. Several updates were made that may be of special interest to health centers:
- Vaccination status is no longer used to inform source control (masking), screening testing, or post-exposure recommendations.
- 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.
- When SARS-CoV-2 Community Transmission levels are not high, healthcare facilities could choose not to require universal source control. However, even though source control is not universally required, it remains recommended in some specific circumstances.
- Updated circumstances when universal use of personal protective equipment should be considered.
- Updated recommendations for testing frequency to detect the potential for variants with shorter incubation periods and to address the risk for false negative antigen tests in people without symptoms.
- Clarified that screening testing of asymptomatic healthcare personnel, including those in nursing homes, is at the discretion of the healthcare facility
Health centers will need to follow the level of Community Transmission in their location to determine whether masking is required within their facility. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) issued additional guidance and clarification in Health Alerts 661 and 662 issued this week.