03 Mar ADA Issues New Mask Guidance for Dental Offices
On February 25 the CDC revised its mask recommendations, indicating that indoor masks are no longer necessary for most individuals in areas with low COVID-19 community levels. The ADA has issued new resource for members to help dental practices make informed decisions with regard to these new recommendations. Click here to learn more and to download PDF mask resources. An ADA member login is required to view the PDF resources.
Healthcare settings, including dental offices, should use community transmission rates as a guide to infection control procedures, including mask requirements for patients and other members of the public. However, note that OSHA mask requirements for facilities such as hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers remain in effect regardless of community transmission rates. In addition, OSHA recommendations for health care professionals have not changed. The CDC recommendations apply to members of the general public only.
A basic summary of the CDC’s new recommendations is as follows:
Low COVID-19 Community Level: Masks are not required but can be worn based on personal preference or level of risk.
Medium COVID-19 Community Level : If you are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe illness, consult with your healthcare provider about strategies to lower your risk of transmission, including wearing a mask. Consider testing yourself and wearing a mask indoors if you live with or are visiting a loved one at high risk for severe illness.
High COVID-19 Community Level: Wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public settings, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk. Individuals who are immunocompromised or at risk for severe illness should wear a mask or respirator that provides greater protection.
Currently the CDC has designed most of Indiana in the Low and Medium category, with pockets of High transmission. Obviously these levels are expected to change quickly and frequently. To find your county’s current designation, visit the CDC website.