medical professionals, doctors, nurses, wearing protective face masks

Image source: Adobe Stock/Rido

News • Lessons learned from the pandemic

Should mask rules remain in health care settings?

In a new commentary, public health experts from several prominent universities suggest that both patients and health care professionals should draw upon lessons learned during the Covid-19 pandemic and continue to mask up in the health care setting.

This is important because infection from Sars-CoV-2 is still a threat, especially to the most vulnerable patients, and masks are a proven method for preventing transmission. The commentary is published in Annals of Internal Medicine

Although rates of severe Covid-19 have decreased because of increasing community immunity and access to medical countermeasures, severe outcomes attributable to Covid-19 are still occurring. Many health care workers and people in the general community no longer take the same precautions they did at the height of the pandemic and have returned to normal activities despite ongoing circulation of Sars-CoV-2 and other endemic respiratory viruses.

Authors from Public Health—Seattle & King County and the University of Washington advocate for updating approaches to masking in health care facilities to prioritize both patient and health care worker safety. They highlight that many patients in health care facilities are at higher risk of mortality and morbidity from Covid-19, and argue that facilities have a responsibility to promote widespread safety measures to limit the spread of hospital-acquired infections. They also argue that many health care workers still come into work with Covid-19, both symptomatic and asymptomatic. They note that pre-pandemic sick leave policies and more limited testing options make health care workers more likely to work while sick. 

Finally, they argue that several policies could be implemented to improve patient and employee safety. They assert that masking could be implemented across health care spaces year-round; in targeted settings, such as transplant, oncology, and geriatric units; in specified months during the local respiratory viral season; or when community burden of respiratory viruses approaches a critical threshold. 

Source: American College of Physicians


Read all latest stories

Related articles


News • Infection control

Study highlights transmission risk of resistant bacteria in hospital sinks

A new study identifies hospital sinks as a source of bacterial outbreaks, highlighting the vulnerability for contamination. The researchers also point out the difficulties in stopping such outbreaks.


News • Follow the evidence

Optimising preventive measures to stop surgical infections

Why are we doing what we are doing to stop surgical infections? A new research review in the run-up to the ECCMID congress 2024 will look at improving preventive measures.


News • Medical technology review

Artificial intelligence: huge potential in infection control

PPE compliance, air and environment monitoring, antibiotic treatment decision support: AI has great potential to help prevent infectious disease outbreaks, a review at the upcoming ECCMID points out.

Related products

Subscribe to Newsletter