The United States CDC changed its recommendation on the mandatory use of masks or masks barbie in healthcare settings (2), and is no longer recommended if it is universal (i.e., mandatory for healthcare workers, patients, and visitors).
This is a big change from previous recommendations, for COVID-19 mitigation strategies.
Updates are based on the availability of effective treatment and prevention tools, along with high levels of immunity induced by vaccines and previous infections. In the United States, there are separate preventive treatments, with monoclonal antibodies, and for mild infections (3), two elements that are not there in our country (4).
Health institutions located in areas with high viral transmission can decide for themselves whether doctors, patients and visitors should wear masks.
Community transmission is currently the recommended metric to guide prevention practices in healthcare settings. in the United States, About 73% of the country has a “high” transmission rate.
“Community transmission” differs from the “community level” metric used for non-health care settings:
- • Community transmission refers to measures of the presence and spread of SARS-CoV-2. Assessing these parameters allows for early intervention to prevent pressure on the health care system as well as better protect individuals seeking care. These would be the number of infected, positivity rate of tests, new cases daily etc.
- • The community level emphasizes measures of the impact of COVID-19 in terms of hospitalizations and strain on the health care system, taking into account transmission in the community. This would be: occupancy of beds in general wards (critical patients), intensive care (critical patients), use of the deceased, etc.
only 7% of counties in the United States (equivalent to parties or departments in our country), are considered high risk, while about 62% are low risk.
The new guidance applies to all places where health care is provided. This includes nursing homes and home care settings.
Among other recommendations, we have:
• People’s vaccination status no longer guides behaviors (for example, an unvaccinated person who is a close contact has the same recommendations as a vaccinated person).
In our country, the nation’s Ministry of Health abolished the mandatory use of masks, although it continues to recommend its use in closed spaces, educational centers, and public transport. However, each jurisdiction has autonomy, and can decide what to do in response to its particular epidemiological situation (5).
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