The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has steadily been easing mask requirements for most industries as the COVID-19 transitions into an endemic. Despite changes, facial coverings were still required in most hospitals for employees.
The CDC has now ended recommendations for Americans in hospitals and nursing homes to wear masks indoors. According to its guidance, facilities in just over a quarter of counties can “choose not to require” all doctors, patients and visitors to wear a mask.
“Updates were made to reflect the high levels of vaccine and infection-induced immunity and the availability of effective treatments and prevention tools,” the guidance says.
Prior to the change, hospitals had already changed their masking requirements. Earlier this year, Houston Methodist Hospital changed its policy so that visitors no longer were required to wear masks within its facilities, opting for a more relaxed approach. Meanwhile, masks also became optional for most patients, visitors and fully vaccinated United Health team members in Iowa. Still, both locations recommended masking for individuals experiencing respiratory symptoms, have had a known COVID019 exposure in the last 10 days, have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 10 days, are immunocompromised or are not fully vaccinated.
The CDC changes comes as the country recorded a slowdown in pace of COVID-19 hospitalization and nursing home infections in most parts of the country.