CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Carle has updated their mask requirements to follow the CDC’s county transmission levels of COVID.

Carle said in an email effective immediately, any center affiliated with Carle that is not in high county transmission level will not require masks.

Carle healthcare workers that are not fully vaccinated or do not have an approved medical, religious, or spiritual exemption will have to wear a mask when they are within six feet of a patient, regardless of community or high transmission levels. This mask requirement, is to fulfill a CMS requirement for those not fully vaccinated, and it is similar to their annual influenza requirements, said officials with Carle.

If the CDC designates a county to have a high transmission level or a high risk of community spread, anyone in the building will have to mask regardless of vaccination status.

“Additionally, there may be circumstances in which team members will be required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status and county transmission level,” said Carle in an email. They added that the circumstances would include outbreaks, known exposures when staff has respiratory illness symptoms, and as needed for standard and transmission-based precautions.

Patients or visitors to a Carle facility can check county transmission level on the CDC’s website. You can do this by entering your county.

All healthcare organizations are to follow transmission levels for infection control interventions. For the non-clinical settings, Carle said to follow the community risk level with the CDC since they said there is no patient care in those settings.

Note that the transmission and community risk levels are the two statuses the CDC reports. The CDC provides healthcare guidelines for mask requirements using transmission levels to determine if masks are necessary. In contrast, the community risk level determines whether masks are necessary for non-clinical settings for Carle.

They said anyone wishing to still mask as an employee or a patient might do so. Carle will also continue to make masks available.

Currently, these counties are not requiring masks in almost all settings as of the week of Oct. 24: Coles, Douglas, Effingham, Iroquois, Lawrence, Livingston, Piatt, Richland, and Woodford.

These counties require masking in clinical settings but no mask requirement in non-clinical settings: Champaign, Edwards, McLean, and Vermilion.