On February 2, 2022, CDC updated the following healthcare infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance documents: Infection Control: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) | CDC and Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Spread in Nursing Homes | CDC.
Updates were made in these guidance documents to align with prior updates made for healthcare personnel with higher-risk exposures in the Interim Guidance for Managing Healthcare Personnel with SARS-COV-2 Infection or Exposure to SARS-CoV-2, which was released on December 23, 2021.
A review of the updates was given on a recent Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) Call, which was recorded and is accessible here: Webinar January 13, 2022 – Updates to CDC’s COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Guidelines in Healthcare and Non-healthcare Settings. Additionally, a brief summary of the updates can be found below. Please consult the guidance documents for the full recommendations.
- Updated the description of healthcare personnel, patients, and visitors as “up to date.” Read more here: Stay Up to Date with Your Vaccines | CDC
Use of N-95 respirators
*Please see complete guidance for full personal protective equipment recommendations
- CDC continues to recommend gown, gloves, eye protection and a NIOSH-approved N95 or equivalent or higher-level respirator when caring for patients known or suspected to be infected with SARS-CoV-2.
- In counties with substantial to high community transmission, a NIOSH-approved N95 or equivalent or higher-level respirator is also recommended instead of a facemask when caring for patients not known or suspected to have SARS-CoV-2 infection in the following higher-risk situations:
- All aerosol-generating procedures;
- Higher-risk surgical procedures;
- These respirators can also be used by HCP in situations where additional risks for infection are present, such as caring for a patient who is not up to date with all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses, the patient is not able to wear source control, and the area is poorly ventilated. They may also be used if healthcare-associated SARS-CoV-2 transmission is identified.
- CDC continues to emphasize that anyone with even mild symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, should receive a viral test as soon as possible.
- Asymptomatic patients with close contact with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of vaccination status, should have a series of two viral tests for SARS-CoV-2 infection.
- Generally, test immediately (but not earlier than 24 hours after the exposure) and, if negative, again 5-7 days after the exposure.
- Testing is not generally necessary for asymptomatic people who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection in the prior 90 days; however, if tested, an antigen test instead of a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) is recommended as some people may remain NAAT positive after they are no longer infectious.
Criteria to end isolation for patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection cared for in a healthcare facility
- Asymptomatic patients or those with mild to moderate illness and who are not moderately to severely immunocompromised: manage with recommended precautions for 10 days after their symptoms first appeared.
- Patients with severe to critical illness and who are not moderately to severely immunocompromised: manage with recommended precautions until at least 10 days and up to 20 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
- Symptomatic and asymptomatic patients who are moderately to severely immunocompromised: a test-based strategy and (if available) consultation with an infectious disease specialist or other expert is recommended to determine when these patients can be released from isolation.
Quarantine for patients:
- Empiric use of Transmission-Based Precautions (quarantine) is recommended for patients who have had close contact with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection if they are not up to date with all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses. Duration of quarantine is described in the guidance.
- Quarantine is not generally needed following close contact with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection for asymptomatic patients who are up to date on all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses or who have recovered from infection in the prior 90 days. Potential exceptions are described in the guidance.
- Even if they have met community criteria to discontinue isolation or quarantine, visitors should not visit if they have any of the following and have not met the same criteria used to discontinue isolation and quarantine for patients (typically until 10 days after last exposure or onset of symptoms has passed):
1) A positive viral test for SARS-CoV-2,
2) Symptoms of COVID-19, or
3) Close contact with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection
- If visitation cannot be postponed the visitor might be subject to additional precautions.
This guidance on infection prevention and control will continue to be refined as additional information becomes available.