The American College of Physicians (ACP) issued new Practice Points on the effectiveness of N95 respirators, surgical masks, and cloth masks for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in addition to standard precautions (such as handwashing, gloves, etc.) in both healthcare settings and community settings. In the healthcare setting, ACP says that healthcare personnel should wear N95 respirators when in close contact with suspected or known COVID-19 patients. ACP also says that all healthcare personnel, patients, and visitors who are not in close contact with patients with suspected or known COVID-19 should use surgical masks in healthcare settings to reduce the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection. ACP says asymptomatic or symptomatic persons in community settings should follow community and statewide public health guidelines for mask use, which should take into account factors such as local demographics (e.g., high risk populations), epidemiologic data (e.g., reproduction rate, daily case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths), and exposure context (e.g., number of people, indoor vs outdoors, ventilation etc.).
Reference: Qaseem A, et al. Use of N95, Surgical, and Cloth Masks to Prevent COVID-19 in Health Care and Community Settings: Living Practice Points From the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. June 18, 2020.