ATLANTA, GA – September 23, 2022 – Effective September 23rd, the CDC has changed their masking recommendation in health care settings. Masking is now recommended if the facilities are in areas of high COVID-19 transmission. COVID-19 Transmission Levels, also called Community Transmission, describe the amount of COVID-19 spread within each county. This updated guidance is newly posted on the agency’s website. These recommendations apply to all doctors, staff, patients and visitors. Healthcare settings include hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes and home health.
The relaxation of mask-wearing recommendations when indoors were begun in May 2021 for people who had the primary vaccination series. This coincided with a high percentage of people getting vaccinated and the subsequent sharp decrease in COVID-19 cases, severe illnesses and deaths. However, this guidance did not apply to health care facilities.
Masking in health care settings is still recommended in communities regardless of the transmission level under certain circumstances. This includes anyone with respiratory infections including COVID-19, people at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 and people who work or live at a housing unit or region with an outbreak of COVID-19. The CDC still recommends mask-wearing in healthcare facilities if there is a strong likelihood of immunocompromised persons being present.
The Community Levels are not the same as Community Transmission. COVID-19 Community Levels are used to measure the impact of COVID-19 on communities and their hospitals in order to develop appropriate public health intervention policy. Having a high community level means that the community exceeds their capacity to take care of any person needing hospital care. Even though the community level may be low, it is important to protect at-risk patients and health care staff from either getting infected with COVID-19 or transmitting the virus to others.
The Buncombe County COVID-19 transmission level is high for the week ending September 29th. The N95 or KN95 mask offers the best protection. Wear a mask that is well-fitting.
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Contact: Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, email@example.com