Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.
The White House announced that vaccines will be required for international travelers coming into the United States, with an effective date of November 8, 2021. For purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines. More information is available here.
Travel requirements to enter the United States are changing, starting November 8, 2021. More information is available here.

Protect Your Patients and Staff from COVID-19: CDC’s Recommended Infection Control Procedures

Protect Your Patients and Staff from COVID-19: CDC’s Recommended Infection Control Procedures
Updated Mar. 10, 2020

Learn more about CDC’s Interim IPC Recommendations for Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) or Persons Under Investigation for COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings.

All healthcare providers and staff play a role in protecting patients and personnel.

Before patients arrive

Begin screening all patients for new respiratory infection symptoms before non-urgent care or elective visits. Ask about cough, shortness of breath, and fever.

Explore alternatives to face-to-face triage and visits to limit use of PPE and reduce risk of transmission. Share CDC resources for how to manage at home.

For patients transported via EMS, the driver should contact the receiving facility ED and follow agreed upon protocol.

Upon arrival

Consider limiting facility points of entry and establishing triage stations outside the facility to screen patients before entering. Ensure rapid and safe triage of patients with symptoms of suspected COVID-19.

Provide respiratory hygiene supplies for symptomatic patients, including masks, hand sanitizer, and tissues. Ask symptomatic patients to inform triage personnel of symptoms upon arrival. Display signs on all entrances with information about COVID-19 symptoms.

Install a barrier to limit contact between triage personnel and patients. Consider a glass or plastic window.

When patients report respiratory symptoms, isolate them in an examination room with door closed as soon as possible. If not available, identify a separate, well-ventilated place where patients can be separated by 6 feet, with easy access to respiratory hygiene supplies.

During the visit

Reserve airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIR) for aerosol-generating procedures.
If an AIIR is not available, place the patients in single-person rooms with their own bathroom.
If private rooms are not available, consider cohorting patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in the same area of the facility (e.g., group of rooms on the same unit).
Healthcare facilities should make sure that respirators are available for fit-tested HCPs during aerosol-generating procedures performed on suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients, when a procedure is likely to produce coughing or sneezing and when strongly indicated for other respiratory conditions (e.g., tuberculosis).
When respirators aren’t available, use the best available alternative, like a facemask.
Use additional PPE, according to guidance from your facility. This includes clean, non-sterile gloves, gowns and eye protection, like goggles or eye shields.
If there are shortages of gowns, remaining gowns should be prioritized for aerosol-generating procedures and care with high-contact or anticipated splashes or sprays.

Dedicate specific staff to care for only patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Staff include medical, nursing, environmental services, etc. Limit personnel in patient rooms to essential staff, and limit movement of patients outside of rooms.

Plan ahead

Refer to and begin implementing aspects of your healthcare facility’s pandemic plan.

Prepare for wider community spread of COVID-19 and develop strategies for handling high volume of patients looking for care.

Healthcare administrators should make continual, concerted efforts to procure the most appropriate PPE for your facility to protect the healthcare workers on the front lines.