Senior woman in face mask. Virus outbreak.

LifeSpire Issues Guidance on New CDC Mask Use Protocol

LifeSpire of Virginia’s priority continues to be serving residents in a safe manner while re-engaging and reconnecting those served to each other and to those outside of our communities. LifeSpire community teams evaluate and adjust operations frequently based on new information and data received from various agencies, experts and consultants. We continue with steps to expand services as we work our way back to normal and as indicators, such as a decrease in cases and county positivity rates, show that the COVID-19 pandemic is improving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance on March 8 regarding fully vaccinated individuals and mask-wearing. This information has been abundant in the news; however, the media does not clarify this guidance applies to non-healthcare settings only. LifeSpire has reviewed this information and consulted with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) regarding this newly-issued guidance. According to the CDC and VDH, this guidance may only be applied to residents residing in independent living, not to our higher levels of living.

Current mask-wearing procedures will not change, at this point, in any public areas of the communities. The mask-wearing procedure will also remain the same for all team members and visitors entering our communities.

Here are the changes based on the new guidance:
Independent living residents who are fully vaccinated, meaning it has been two weeks since receiving the second dose in a two-dose series or two weeks since a single-dose vaccine, can:
  • Visit, in their private home, with other fully vaccinated individuals indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
  • Visit, in their private home, with unvaccinated individuals from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease, indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing. For example, fully vaccinated grandparents can visit indoors with their unvaccinated healthy daughter/son and her/his healthy children without wearing masks or physical distancing, provided none of the unvaccinated family members are at risk of severe COVID-19 disease.
In accordance with the CDC and VDH guidance, we encourage fully vaccinated residents in independent living to continue to:
  • Wear a mask in public and when out of their private residence—unless visiting a friend in independent living in their private residence. For example, residents are asked to please wear a mask when entering dining venues just as you would at a restaurant. Masks may be removed at the table while dining.
  • Wear a mask when visiting unvaccinated individuals who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease and when visiting with unvaccinated individuals from multiple households.
  • Report any signs/symptoms of COVID-19.

This new guidance points out that if any of the unvaccinated individuals are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 disease—people aged 65 years and older and people aged 16 through 64 years with a high-risk medical condition or disability—all attendees of a visit should take precautions, including wearing a mask.

This new guidance can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html and at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html.

The LifeSpire leadership team knows it is frustrating the new guidance does not apply to the higher levels of living. As we continue to make our way toward the end of this pandemic, we will continue to focus on getting back to more normal activities in the quickest way possible for all levels of care.