Healthcare workers are accustomed to FDA regulation more-so than CDC regulation. The traditional surgical masks, however, may not be suitable for situations such as COVID-19 or other pandemic-like viruses.
Why can't FDA approved surgical masks suffice from transmitting disease?
Answer: Bacteria vs Viral. Surgeons need to protect themselves during surgery and need a mask that will protect them from secondary illness when pressurized fluids (ex: blood splatters) spray onto the surgeon. Same with a dentist and a patient's saliva. Therefore, the a surgical mask will provide protection from fluid penetration. This protects them from any illnesses that are typically transmitted by sharing bodily fluids.
But highly contagious airborne viruses are different.
Viruses such the the corona-virus will transmit simply through the breath of the infected individual. The virus has been known to stay in the air for at least a minute. And when you're in a small room with a highly contagious virus that can stay airborne for over a minute, the odds are you (the medical professional) will contract the virus too.
So how does one protect themselves from contamination in a healthcare setting?
Answer: Surgical N95 respirators.
What's the difference? Filtration of airborne particles. Essentially you're merging the industrial grade filtration with a medical grade mask.
Want to learn more about the difference? Check out what the Department of Labor has to say: