Is it safe to unmask? See new guidance from the CDC

March 7, 2022 Carlie Franz

Doctor and patient in masks


Key takeaways: 

  • New masking guidance offers flexibility depending on community transmission levels. 
  • Staff, patients and visitors must still mask in Providence facilities. 


As COVID-19 cases trend downward in many areas of the U.S., the CDC is offering new guidance of when you can take your mask off and when it’s important to keep it on.

The CDC is basing this new guidance on COVID-19 factors in individual communities, including new cases and hospitalizations over the last seven days. It also takes into account the percentage of available hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients. Communities are classified as either Low, Medium or High. You can check your community’s level here.

This new masking guidance offers flexibility for communities with lower transmission levels while continuing to keep in place safety measures in areas where transmission is higher.

It is important to know that this guidance does not apply to health care settings, like hospitals and long-term care facilities. For now, staff, patients and visitors must still mask in Providence facilities.

Here is the guidance in a nutshell:

Low (green)

  • People can choose to wear a mask based on their personal preference.

Medium (yellow)

  • People are encouraged to speak with their health care provider about precautions they should take if they are immunocompromised or at a high risk of severe disease.
  • People who live with or have social contact with someone at a high risk of severe disease should consider testing before getting together and wearing a mask when gathering indoors with them.

High (red)

  • A well-fitting mask should be worn in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status.
  • People who are immunocompromised or at a high risk of severe disease should wear a mask or respirator that offers a greater level of protection.

Planning a trip? Make sure to bring your mask along because masks are still required on airplanes, in airports and other forms of public transportation and hubs. Make sure to also check your local county or state public health guidance as some areas may still be under a mask mandate.  


Related resources

Get relevant, up-to-date information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) from Providence.

Does it matter what type of facemask you use? 

COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

If you need care, don't delay. Learn more about your options.

Breaking down barriers to vaccine hesitancy


This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions. 

About the Author

Carlie Franz

Carlie Franz is a member of the Providence National Communication team and is based in Kodiak, Alaska. She has been in the marketing & communications industry for more than 20 years. She has a bachelor of science degree in Journalism and a masters degree in strategic communication.

Follow on Linkedin More Content by Carlie Franz
Previous Article
One woman’s story: Staying grounded, resilient in adversity
One woman’s story: Staying grounded, resilient in adversity

Chrys Nguyen credits her upbringing and frame of mind in staying grounded during life’s challenges. Read he...

Next Article
What is endometriosis?
What is endometriosis?

These articles from Providence Women’s Health experts can help you better understand endometriosis from dia...