Updated: OMH Infection Control Manual for
February 15, 2023
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a COVID-19 advisory for the use of masks and face coverings in health care facilities, aligning the State’s guidance with the latest federal recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). DOH continues to affirm the importance of masking as a vital and effective infection prevention strategy. The new guidance advises healthcare settings to develop and implement a masking plan for staff and visitors at their facilities, which includes COVID-19 and uses CDC’s guidance, based on Transmission Levels, as a minimum threshold.
The NYS Office of Mental Health has similarly updated the Infection Control Manual for Public Mental Health System Programs. The updated manual is available on the OMH website at the following link: https://omh.ny.gov/omhweb/guidance/covid-19-guidance-infection-control-public-mh-system-sites.pdf.
- Some OMH programs are not considered health care settings. Therefore, the updated manual directs OMH facility and program leadership to develop and implement infection control policies and procedures that are consistent with guidance for healthcare settings OR the general community as appropriate. Policies should be at least as strict as CDC recommendations and may be stricter at the discretion of the facility.
- All staff in a healthcare setting should wear an appropriate face mask in certain circumstances according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic. The current CDC recommendations for health care settings apply regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status and are based on Transmission, not on COVID-19 Community Levels.Programs should check their county’s transmission level at least once per week.
- Although there is no statewide universal masking requirement, it remains strongly encouraged to protect those at high risk of getting very sick. Based on risk assessment, agency leadership may require masking for staff and/or clients in particular programs as needed.
- Staying up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccination, including recommended booster doses, continues to be a critical component of the COVID-19 prevention strategy.