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CDC Update: Infection Prevention & Control Guidance for Healthcare Settings

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The CDC has recently updated its infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance for healthcare settings, Infection Control Guidance for Healthcare Professionals about Coronavirus (COVID-19). In general, these updates do not reflect substantial changes to recommended practices, rather they have been made to further clarify, consolidate, and simplify existing healthcare IPC guidance.

As a part of this update, multiple setting-specific guidance documents such as those for dental offices, assisted living communities, EMS, and dialysis clinics have been streamlined and combined into the main IPC guidance for healthcare settings.  This was done to make it easier for healthcare personnel to find relevant guidance for the duration of the COVID-19 response.

Vaccination, testing, use of source control by healthcare personnel, patients, and visitors, and use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) by healthcare personnel caring for patients with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections continue to be emphasized.

Summarized highlights are included below but please refer to the full guidance documents for the exact recommendations.

Key information about this update:

Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Spread in Nursing Homes | CDC

Healthcare providers in nursing homes should continue to follow the core infection prevention and control practices for nursing homes during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic as outlined in the recommendations specific to nursing homes and outlined in the primary infection prevention and control guidance as well as the guidance for risk assessment and work restrictions for healthcare personnel.

  • Screening testing for healthcare personnel in nursing homes is now associated with community transmission level instead of test positivity.
  • During an outbreak response in nursing homes, options for more targeted contact tracing have been added.
  • In general, assisted living communities should follow the guidance for Retirement Communities and Independent Living | CDC.  However, in circumstances when healthcare is being delivered (e.g., by home health agency, staff providing care for a resident with SARS-CoV-2 infection), assisted living communities should follow the IPC recommendations in this guidance.

Infection Control: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) | CDC

  • CDC continues to recommend having a process to identify healthcare personnel, patients, and visitors with symptoms or exposure to SARS-CoV-2 prior to entering a facility.
  • CDC continues to recommend source control for everyone in a healthcare setting, and has clarified recommendations for healthcare personnel, patients, and visitors, to better align with community guidance. This includes a few limited circumstances where fully vaccinated individuals in counties with low to moderate community transmission could choose not to wear source control.
  • There are no changes to the PPE recommended for the care of patients with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • Quarantine is no longer recommended for fully vaccinated patients with exposure to SARS-CoV-2 or those patients who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection in the prior 90 days.
  • The timing of SARS-CoV-2 testing after higher-risk exposure for healthcare personnel and close contact for patients has been clarified.

 

Interim U.S. Guidance for Risk Assessment and Work Restrictions for Healthcare Personnel with Potential Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 | CDC

  • There are no changes to the guidance for managing healthcare personnel with SARS-CoV-2 infection (return to work guidance) or exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (risk assessment guidance), including the definition of “higher-risk exposure.”