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We are hoping to clarify the masking requirements for healthcare providers in various healthcare settings. According to CDC Guidance (February 2, 2022) the following applies.

Health Care Providers (HCPs) who are up to date with all recommended COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses:

  • Could choose not to wear source control or, physically distance when they are in well-defined areas that are restricted from patient access.
      • Example: Staff meeting rooms, kitchen, etc,
  • They should wear source control when they are in areas of the healthcare facility where they could encounter patients.
      • Example: Hospital cafeteria, common halls/corridors, etc. 

Source control refers to 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.

Source control options for healthcare providers include:

  • A NIOSH-approved N95 or equivalent or higher-level respirator OR
  • A respirator approved under standards used in other countries that are similar to NIOSH-approved N95 filtering facepiece respirators (Note: These should not be used instead of a NIOSH-approved respirator when respiratory protection is indicated) OR
  • A well-fitting facemask.

According to the CDC, “Source control and physical distancing (when physical distancing is feasible and will not interfere with provision of care) are recommended for everyone in a healthcare setting.”

CDC’s guidance states “Healthcare settings refer to places where healthcare is delivered and includes, but is not limited to, acute-care facilities long-term acute-care facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, home healthcare, vehicles where healthcare is delivered (e.g, mobile clinics), and outpatient facilities, such as dialysis centers, physician offices, dental offices, and others.”  While every healthcare setting is not specifically mentioned, CDC’s definition states “…including, but not limited to,…”

It is important to note the current guidelines to ensure compliance with survey and certification or corporate regulations. If the Great Plains QIN team can be of assistance, please let us know. If you are a nursing home facility, we plan to address masking requirements in our Thursday’s BOOST session on June 23.