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In brief: New CDC guidance on broader masking in the office

May 30, 2023
Learn about what the CDC recommends to dental professionals for masking guidance following the lessening of previous requirements; concerns about a shortage of HCWs (even as jobs are added); and more.
Elizabeth S. Leaver, Digital content manager

New guidelines from CDC on broader masking in health-care settings

Following the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency on May 11, the CDC is no longer receiving data to publish community transmission levels of SARS-CoV-2. Yet dentists and their team members are still required to follow standard and transmission-based precautions when treating patients; as such, the CDC has put out new guidance to help dental and other health-care professionals determine when they should consider implementing broader masking in their offices.

The guidelines include considering the types of patients being treated, reviewing input from stakeholders, and using available data. The CDC also noted that some facilities might consider requiring masks during the typical respiratory virus season, from about October to April.

Dentistry adds 4,600 jobs last month …

Medical Economics reports that employment in health care grew by 40,000 last month, down from an average monthly gain of 47,000 over the last six months, with 4,600 dentist jobs added in April and 4,400 jobs added within other health-care disciplines. The US unemployment rate was 3.4% for April as the overall job market grew by 253,000 positions.

Yet a shortage remains in many areas

But even with those jobs added, there is growing concern about an ongoing shortage of health-care workers in the US. According to data from the Health Resources & Services Administration, in areas where a health workforce shortage has been identified—which is “more acute” in Black and brown communities—the US needs more than 17,000 primary care practitioners, including some 12,000 dental health practitioners.

Mpox possible "substantial risk" for summer

Even as mpox (formally monkeypox) was recently confirmed by the WHO to no longer be a global health emergency, a cluster of 21 new cases in the Chicago area have compelled the CDC to announce there could be a “substantial risk” of a resurgence this summer. According to the Hill, of particular concern is that more than half of those infected in the Chicago cluster had received some degree of vaccination.

About the Author

Elizabeth S. Leaver | Digital content manager

Elizabeth S. Leaver was the digital content manager for Endeavor Business Media's dental group from 2021-2024. She has a degree in journalism from Northeastern University in Boston and many years of experience working in niche industries specializing in creating content, editing, content marketing, and publishing digital and magazine content. She lives in the Boston area.