New York State Drops Masking Mandate in Hospitals, Health Care Facilities

Published on: February 10th, 2023

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has dropped their masking mandate in its regulated hospitals and health care settings:

In place of a mandate, DOH now simply recommends hospitals follow CDC guidelines on the matter.  The link to those guidelines is included above but essentially the CDC recommends such:

  • When SARS-CoV-2 Community Transmission levels are high, source control is recommended for everyone in a healthcare setting when they are in areas of the healthcare facility where they could encounter patients.  HCP could choose not to wear source control when they are in well-defined areas that are restricted from patient access (e.g., staff meeting rooms) if they do not otherwise meet the criteria described below and Community Levels are not also high. When Community Levels are high, source control is recommended for everyone.


  • When SARS-CoV-2 Community Transmission levels are not high, healthcare facilities could choose not to require universal source control.  However, even if source control is not universally required, it remains recommended for individuals in healthcare settings [in certain circumstances]


So, even if COVID transmission levels are low in a community, a hospital can still decide to require masking due to certain circumstances or out of an abundance of caution.  And many seem to indeed be continuing the mask requirement.  The Department states:

  • “ … the Department expects facilities’ plans to include the policies and procedures necessary to implement a masking requirement when COVID-19 transmission levels are high enough to trigger that recommendation by CDC. Department-regulated facilities may also set requirements that go beyond CDC’s guidance, based on their unique circumstances.”


The Department’s missive on this matter is now purely a recommendation as opposed to its earlier mandate which is no longer in force.  Nonetheless, their recommendation following the CDC guidelines will likely be considered a best practice.

OMS and dental offices are not regulated by DOH and not subject to their mandates.  CDC Guidelines do, however, relate to dental settings.  Yet, these are just guidelines, not mandates.  Many dental offices do though follow their recommendations as it is considered a best practice.

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