Masking still required in health care facilities


COLUMBIA, Tenn. — On Thursday, May 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear a face mask and social distance in most indoor and outdoor settings.

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they receive their second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine.

While fully vaccinated individuals may now be able to refrain from wearing a mask and social distancing in many settings, the CDC was clear in stating that the new guidelines do not apply to health care settings.

According to Maury Regional Health CEO Alan Watson, masking and social distancing requirements will remain in effect for all Maury Regional Health hospitals, medical office buildings, outpatient facilities and Maury Regional Medical Group practices until more data regarding vaccination rates, case counts and variant studies prompt the CDC to update their recommendations.

“At Maury Regional Health, our number one priority is the health and safety of our patients,” said Watson. “We treat individuals with COVID-19 and care for those with compromised immune systems who are at greater risk of severe illness if exposed to the virus. It is also important to note that in the counties predominately served by Maury Regional Health, the percentage of the population fully vaccinated ranges from 22 to 39 percent. For these reasons, we are pleased that the CDC is not altering guidance for health care settings at this time.”

The CDC has also stated that there is still more to learn about:

  • How effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Early data indicates the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.
  • How well the vaccines protect people with weakened immune systems, including people who take immunosuppressive medications.
  • How long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.

In addition to health care settings, other exceptions noted by the CDC include planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. This guidance also does not limit the ability of an individual business to require masks within their facilities.

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