In late September, CDC finally updated the interim infection prevention and control recommendations for healthcare providers. This is the first update to these recommendations since last summer. In general, CDC has taken the stance that current measures should be taken based on Community Transmission – a measure of the strain transmission is placing on individual healthcare communities. Defining what the “measures” are is complex and left to individual area public health officials. It can easily be concluded that at this point in time Community Transmission levels are at an all-time low in every part of the country. Providers should seek information regarding Community Transmission levels from their local department of health or similar regulatory agency.
Under this new measure, the following is a summary of the recommendations.
- Healthcare providers should continue a process that helps identify individuals with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. The simplest measure is to continue posting a sign at your entrance that everyone should have been using for months.
- Healthcare practices should continue adequate disinfection at their facility. They should also consider optimizing air quality and limiting crowding.
- Source control measures (masks) are determined by the level of Community Transmission. When Community Transmission levels are not high, the use of masks is left to the discretion of each individual provider. Masks are still recommended when Community Transmission is high or when staff, patients or visitors have confirmed infection or had close contact with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection (with continued use for 10 days after exposure).
- Under the new recommendations, vaccination status is no longer a consideration when considering source controls, screening tests or post-exposure recommendations.
There are minor changes regarding testing after exposure, quarantine and return to work recommendations but they are minor. The details of the new recommendation can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infection-control-recommendations.html