ALERT: Amended COVID Administrative Order on Masking and Physician Practice Operations
The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs issued a new administrative order (AO) on masking and other physician-office operations. Since 2020 and subsequent updates in May 2021, under an earlier AO physicians’ offices in New Jersey have been required to take certain precautions related to COVID-19. Masking, physical distancing, screening patients and staff, cleaning, plastic barriers between staff workstations, and removing magazines from waiting rooms – to name a few. While many precautions, such as screening patients and staff for COVID symptoms, remain standard practice, others source control recommendations are inconsistent with the current understanding of virus transmission and infection risk. The new AO therefore removes many of these requirements and instead defers to outside agencies and requires health care settings to “practice in a manner consistent with the COVID guidance from the CDC, OSHA, NJ Department of Health and local health authorities.