PA Department of Health Updates Mask Guidance Following CDC Announcement

face maskImage via Pixabay

HARRISBURG, PA — Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam announced that the department has updated its mask guidance to reflect the announcement made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday.

“[CDC’s] announcement allows those who are fully vaccinated the opportunity to spend time outdoors, in some situations, without wearing a mask,” Acting Secretary Beam said. “This is both welcomed and exciting news for individuals who are fully vaccinated and are at a significantly lower risk to serious illness from COVID-19. However, those who are not vaccinated will still need to wear a mask in most situations, and those who are fully vaccinated should still wear a mask when in crowded spaces.”

The CDC provided information about activities that fully vaccinated people can do, including:

  • Visiting with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
  • Visiting with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
  • Participating in activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues.
  • Resuming domestic travel and refraining from testing before or after travel, or self-quarantine after travel.
  • Refraining from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refraining from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States.
  • Refraining from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings.
  • Refraining from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic.
  • Refraining from routine COVID-19 testing if asymptomatic and if feasible.
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However, for now, fully vaccinated people are still advised to continue to:

  • Take precautions like wearing a well-fitted mask in indoor public settings.
  • Wear masks that fit snuggly when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
  • Wear well-fitted masks when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people from multiple households.
  • Avoid indoor large-sized, in-person gatherings.
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers.
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations.

Additional guidance for those who are fully vaccinated is available on the CDC website.

“[This] announcement underscores the importance of getting vaccinated to protect yourself from COVID-19,” said Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson. “It is important that people who have compromised immune systems consult with their physician as to whether they may need to continue to wear a mask in some of these situations.”

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The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s masking order from March 2021 incorporates CDC masking guidance for fully vaccinated individuals, including this guidance.

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