April 10, 2023

Updated guidance on masking, COVID-19 testing at VUMC

Updated Guidance Around Universal Masking in Clinical Areas 

VUMC is resuming standard infection prevention protocols, effective immediately.  These changes reflect current available evidence on the prevention of COVID-19, including high levels of vaccine and infection- induced immunity and the availability of effective treatment and prevention tools:

Universal masking of patients, employees and visitors is no longer required in clinical areas at VUMC. However, individuals may still choose to wear a mask as an option in any area (clinical and non-clinical) at VUMC, and we ask that all VUMC colleagues respect this choice.

Masking is still required for the following:

  • As part of isolation precautions when indicated (e.g. Droplet Precautions)
  • For individuals following COVID-19 infection who are instructed to wear a mask for a specific duration after clearance to return to work by Occupational Health
  • For patients who present with symptoms of acute respiratory infection including COVID-19
  • For employees who develop symptoms of acute respiratory infection at work until they are able to leave as per VUMC policy

All VUMC colleagues should continue to follow basic essential infection prevention practices, including screening all patients for any signs or symptoms of acute respiratory infection (with isolation and testing of those who screen positive), use of hand hygiene, and strict adherence to recommended personal protective equipment and isolation practices, and should follow VUMC policy in regard to not working when ill.

NOTE: This guidance may change if a new SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern emerges or if other factors suggest an increased risk of spread of COVID-19 within our facilities.

Updated Guidance Around Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing at VUMC

As we exit viral respiratory season and COVID-19 case numbers remain lower for our region, we are scaling back testing as follows:

Asymptomatic testing for SARS-CoV-2 should CONTINUE for the following:

  • Admission testing for all asymptomatic patients admitted to following units:
    • VUH: 10CCT, 11N, MCE6, and MCE7
    • MCJCHV: 6A/B
  • Immediate pre-transplant pre-procedure testing
  • Prior to receipt of severely immunosuppressive medication at the discretion of the attending physician
  • Pre-placement for post-acute care facility (if required)
  • Occupational Health approved employee testing

Asymptomatic testing for SARS-CoV-2 is NO LONGER REQUIRED for the following:

  • Routine admissions to units not noted above
  • Pre-procedure except for immediate pre-transplant

NOTE:  Guidance around testing of symptomatic persons has not changed.  Clinicians should be vigilant, screen all patients for COVID-19 symptoms and isolate and test any patient who reports symptoms.