ARCHIVED WEBPAGE: This web page is available for historical purposes. CDC is no longer updating this web page and it may not reflect CDC's current COVID-19 guidance. For the latest information, visit CDC's COVID-19 home page.

Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.
The White House announced that vaccines will be required for international travelers coming into the United States, with an effective date of November 8, 2021. For purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines. More information is available here.
Travel requirements to enter the United States are changing, starting November 8, 2021. More information is available here.

Ten Ways Healthcare Systems Can Operate Effectively during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ten Ways Healthcare Systems Can Operate Effectively during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Updated May 1, 2020

Purpose of this Guidance

CDC is listening to and learning from the experiences of healthcare systems as they respond to COVID-19. This document provides practical approaches that can be used to protect healthcare personnel (HCP), patients, and communities.


Healthcare system and healthcare facility decision makers

head side mask icon

Worker Safety and Support

  1. Understand and execute current infection prevention and control (IPC) practices for COVID-19.
    • Ensure HCP are well-trained on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Implement strategies to optimize personal protective equipment (PPE), including implementing extended and limited reuse of N95 respirators, reserving N95 respirators for aerosol-generating procedures, creating extended use PPE units where only patients with COVID-19 are provided care, and implementing a walk-up testing booth that allows HCP to stand behind solid but transparent (e.g., polycarbonate) panels to collect samples for COVID-19.
    • Institute universal source control for all HCP, patients, and visitors.
    • Consider tracking PPE supplies available using the PPE burn rate calculator.
  2. Develop protocols for HCP to monitor themselves for fever and symptoms of COVID-19, restrict them from work when sick or post exposure, and to safely allow return to work after an exposure and/or suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection.
  3. Establish a plan for providing additional support for HCPexternal icon, considering aspects such as mental health, parentingexternal icon, meals,external icon and non-punitive sick policies.
user md chat icon

Patient Service Delivery

  1. Help your HCP become well-versed in evidence-based care of patients with COVID-19, including guidance provided by CDC, National Institutes of Health,external icon the Infectious Diseases Society of Americaexternal icon, the World Health Organizationexternal icon, and the Surviving Sepsis Campaign.external icon
  2. Understand the guidance for discharging a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 from the hospital to home or to a long-term care facility.
  3. Use telehealthexternal icon strategies when feasible to provide high-quality patient care and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the healthcare setting. Consider implementing a phone advice line to triage patients and to address questions and concerns from possible COVID-19 patients.
laptop medical icon

Data Streams for Situational Awareness

  1. Maintain awareness of the COVID-19 situation in the state, city, and facility. Provide access to evidence-based guidance for caring for patients with COVID-19.
  2. Report hospital capacity data to HHS Protect using one of the approved mechanisms described in the HHS COVID-19 Guidance for Hospital Reporting and FAQspdf icon.
clipboard list check icon

Facility Practices

  1. Strengthen your facility’s response mechanisms by becoming familiar with pandemic, COVID-19 specific, and crisis standards of care
info circle icon


  1. Develop and maintain a communication planexternal icon for your HCP, patients, and the community. Consider including virtual town halls, daily huddles with local leadership, calls with partners, emails and phone conferences for staff, media briefs, and others.