In line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the NYS Health Department does not recommend the routine use of masks if you are healthy.
Facemasks are not warranted for general/routine tasks by staff – even those who have frequent interaction with the general public.
Use of a facemask is sometimes indicated for persons with a respiratory infection, as this can help prevent a sick person from spreading infections to others. The NYC Health Department and the CDC do not currently recommend the use of facemasks for the asymptomatic general public. Some health care workers might be required to use either facemasks or N95 respirators depending on the type of visit/inspection or per their organizations protocol for reasons unrelated to the current COVID-19 outbreak (including their vaccination status for influenza). If so, these staff should proceed to use facemasks or N95 respirators as is their standard protocol.
They are not needed when caring for persons who are asymptomatic while under self-monitoring.
Home and Community Health Care Worker Protection
CDC recommends universal use of Standard Precautions when caring for any patient. Reinforce with staff the importance of strict adherence to Standard Precautions during all client encounters. Standard Precautions are based on the principles that all blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions (except sweat), nonintact skin, and mucous membranes may contain transmissible infectious agents. The application of Standard Precautions is determined by the interaction that occurs between the client and the health care provider and the extent of anticipated blood, body fluids, and pathogen exposure. For example, a facemask and eye protection should be worn during the care of any client if splashes, sprays or coughs could occur during the client encounter.
Similarly, gloves should be worn if contact with body fluids, mucous membranes, or nonintact skin are anticipated.
For clients who are currently self-monitoring and are afebrile (T<100.4oF) and otherwise without symptoms that might be consistent with COVID-19, health care workers are not required to use PPE or precautions specific to COVID-19. Client management should be consistent with the condition for which they are being evaluated (e.g., colonization with a drug-resistant organism).