Bay Area county to REINSTATE mask mandates in health care settings starting Nov 1

Nov 4, 2023 | Political News

Starting November 1, some California counties began requiring mask-wearing for those who visit a hospital, clinic, or long-term care facility. 

According to ABC7, Santa Clara County requires all patients and providers to wear a mask inside healthcare facilities, while Alameda, San Mateo, Contra Costa, and Sonoma Counties joined San Fransico and began requiring masks for all healthcare workers, but this does not extend to patients. 

Santa Clara County's Deputy Health Officer Sarah Rudman told the outlet, “The order in Santa Clara County does require masking for everyone who steps into a health care facility.” She added, “And that's because we're all at risk during this winter virus season. We all need to play a role in protecting ourselves and protecting each other.”

Speaking on why they are advising pregnant women and vulnerable groups to get a COVID, flu, and RSV vaccine, Rudman said, “Getting vaccinated when you're pregnant passes immunity to your baby when it's born and helps it be protected during that most vulnerable period right after birth.” She continued, “In addition, we have vaccines available for people who are 60 and older.”

“To be completely honest and open, part of it is the incredible pushback on mask mandates,” Sonoma County's Interim Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith said of their less restrictive mandate. “The highest risk that they have when they come into a health care facility is actually from the health care provider, because that's who they're dealing with in an enclosed room close to each other or if they're already in the hospital or, you know, they're already in a state that makes them a little higher at risk.”

According to the Santa Clara County public health data on COVID-19 wastewater samples, all four sewershed results show medium concentration levels, which is down from some higher levels in the last two months.

The mandates are expected to be in effect until at least March 2024, per ABC 7.