September 26, 2022 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CDC Updates Healthcare IPC Guidance for SARS-CoV-2
On Friday, CDC updated the following infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance documents for U.S. healthcare settings:
These updates have been made to reflect the high levels of vaccine- and infection-induced immunity and the availability of effective treatments and prevention tools. Additionally, to streamline and consolidate existing healthcare IPC guidance, the Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Spread in Nursing Homes | CDC was archived. However, relevant information for nursing homes not otherwise covered in Sections 1 and 2 of the main healthcare IPC guidance have now been incorporated into Section 3: Setting-specific considerations.
CDC recommends healthcare facilities reference updated Community Transmission metrics on a weekly basis to inform facility-level actions. Community Transmission remains the metric used to guide select actions in healthcare settings, which is different than the COVID-19 Community Levels used for non-healthcare settings. Community Transmission is used to allow for earlier intervention, before there is strain on the healthcare system, and to better protect the individuals seeking medical care in these settings.
Summary of Key Updates:
- Vaccination status is no longer used to inform source control, screening testing, or post-exposure recommendations.
- Updated circumstances when universal use of source control is recommended, and universal use of personal protective equipment (PPE) should be considered.
- Updated recommendations for testing frequency in asymptomatic individuals following exposure to someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection.
- In general, Nucleic Acid Amplification Test, or NAAT is preferred, when possible, for testing asymptomatic individuals.
- Clarified that screening testing of asymptomatic healthcare personnel, including those in nursing homes, is at the discretion of the healthcare facility.
- Screening testing is recommended for admissions to nursing homes when Community Transmission levels are high.
- In general, asymptomatic patients no longer require use of Transmission-Based Precautions (quarantine) following close contact with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection and asymptomatic healthcare personnel (HCP) no longer require work restriction following a higher-risk exposure.
- Clarified the types of long-term care settings for whom the healthcare IPC recommendations apply.
These updates provide additional protection measures for patients and healthcare workers, especially in hospitals and nursing homes, where COVID-19 is more likely to spread quickly or cause severe disease if introduced.
Healthcare personnel continue to be on the front line of the nation’s fight against COVID-19. By providing critical care to those who are or might be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, some healthcare personnel are at increased risk of infection from COVID-19. CDC recommends healthcare personnel get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. Examples of what it means to be “up to date” with vaccinations are described in Stay Up to Date with Your Vaccines.
Dental healthcare personnel (DHCP) should regularly consult their state dental boards and state or local health departments for current information and recommendations and requirements specific to their jurisdictions, which might change based on level of community transmission in the county where their healthcare facility is located. As a reminder, DHCP are licensed by their state regulatory body and should practice according to their state dental practice acts or other relevant regulations.