Maine CDC Health Advisory

January 18, 2024

Masking and Vaccination in Health Care Facilities During Increased Respiratory Virus Activity

Respiratory virus transmission in the United States has increased in recent weeks and is expected to peak in coming weeks, leading to more infections, serious illness, hospitalizations, and deaths as well as more health care workers out of work due to illness. When there is higher respiratory virus transmission, health care facilities should implement policies requiring staff to wear appropriate masks or respirators for source control and infection control either during patient interactions or at all times inside facilities. Health care facilities should also consider requiring COVID-19 vaccine for patient-facing staff alongside the existing state requirements for influenza vaccine.

Comprehensive infection prevention and control policies, including masking and vaccination, protect staff, patients, residents, and visitors. Health care facilities should consider these demonstrated risk-reduction measures as they adapt to the shifting community situation. Masking protects the wearer and others around them against respiratory virus infections. Vaccines provide the best protection against severe illness. The Maine CDC remains dedicated to preventing severe disease and death from respiratory viral illnesses, particularly for populations at higher risk, and continues to work to reduce their impacts.

Advisory (PDF)