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CDC says universal masking no longer recommended inside some hospitals, nursing homes

FILE - Nurse assistants prepare a room at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, on April 14, 2022.

(Photo by Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has eased its universal masking recommendation in health care settings, unless the facilities are located in areas of high COVID-19 transmission.The new guidance, which includes hospitals and nursing homes, was part of the CDC’s updated recommendations published on Friday.

It marks a major change from its previous recommendation of universal masking."This interim guidance has been updated based on currently available information about COVID-19 and the current situation in the United States. Updates were made to reflect the high levels of vaccine-and infection-induced immunity and the availability of effective treatments and prevention tools," the CDC stated."Community transmission" is a CDC metric used to describe the amount of COVID-19 spread within each county, which health care facilities use to determine their infection control interventions.

This is different from the "COVID-19 Community Levels" metric that the CDC uses to guide non-healthcare settings, such as restaurants. That metric measures the impact of COVID-19 in terms of hospitalizations and healthcare system strain, while also accounting for transmission in the community.RELATED: Pfizer asks FDA to approve omicron COVID-19 booster shots for 5- to 11-year-oldsThe new recommendations offer a framework for health care facilities to implement prevention practices based on their local COVID-19 circumstances.

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