CDC Updates Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Healthcare Settings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance for healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Infection Control Guidance for Healthcare Professionals about Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The updates primarily focus on recommendations for use of source control, SARS-CoV-2 testing, and quarantine for fully vaccinated patients and nursing home residents. 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.

Links to the updated guidance and a summary of key changes are outlined below. Please refer to the full guidance documents for the exact recommendations.

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Updated Guidance and Summary of Key Changes:

Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel During the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic

  • 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 Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Spread in Nursing Homes

  • 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.

Interim Guidance for Managing Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Exposure to SARS-CoV-2

  • 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.”