The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sept. 23 issued updated guidance for health care facilities and is no longer recommending universal masking for health care facilities. Instead, the CDC recommends that health care facilities, including dental offices, use community transmission rates to determine when face masks or respirators are needed.
According to the CDC Guidance, patients and health care personnel, including dental health care workers, should wear masks in areas of high community transmission rates. Health care facilities can choose to not require face masks in areas where community transmission rates are low, moderate, or substantial.
Masking is still recommended for individuals in health care 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.
As always, the MDA recommends that you follow CDC Guidance. Also, you should be aware of any local health department guidance or requirements.