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DOD Directs Employees to Start Wearing Face Masks Again

Image of Military personnel wearing a face masks. Click to open a larger version of the image. Air Force Staff Sgt. Colton Webber, 735th Air Mobility Squadron passenger terminal shift supervisor, decontaminates a bus after transporting passengers at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, March 25, 2020.

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The new guidance for the department came in a memorandum signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks.

"In areas of substantial or high community transmission, DOD requires all service members, federal employees, onsite contractor employees and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in an indoor setting in installations and other facilities owned, leased or otherwise controlled by DOD," the memorandum read.

The memo also says that those who have not been vaccinated will need to continue to wear masks, as they have been required to do all along.

DOD installations are also being asked to post signage and update their websites to let visitors know of mask policies in place at those locations.

CDC guidance issued July 27 recommends that even individuals who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 start wearing a mask again while indoors if they are in an area of "substantial or high transmission."

"To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission," the CDC recommends.

Information about areas of the country that are most at risk for transmission can be found on the CDC website.

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This Practice Management Guide does not supersede DOD Policy. It is based upon the best information available at the time of publication. It is designed to provide information and assist decision making. It is not intended to define a standard of care and should not be construed as one. Neither should it be interpreted as prescribing an exclusive course of management. It was developed by experts in this field. Variations in practice will inevitably and appropriately occur when clinicians take into account the needs of individual patients, available resources, and limitations unique to an institution or type of practice. Every healthcare professional making use of this guideline is responsible for evaluating the appropriateness of applying it in the setting of any particular clinical situation. The Practice Management Guide is not intended to represent TRICARE policy. Further, inclusion of recommendations for specific testing and/or therapeutic interventions within this guide does not guarantee coverage of civilian sector care. Additional information on current TRICARE benefits may be found at www.tricare.mil or by contacting your regional TRICARE Managed Care Support Contractor.

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