Five counties in California implemented mask mandates for some areas on Wednesday as a precautionary measure ahead of flu season, ABC7 News reported.
Staff members at hospitals and doctor’s offices in Alameda, San Mateo, Contra Costa and Sonoma counties must now wear masks when interacting with patients, according to ABC7. Santa Clara County implemented additional measures, requiring hospital patients and residents at long-term care facilities to wear face coverings in addition to healthcare providers and staff.
“The order in Santa Clara County does require masking for everyone who steps into a healthcare facility,” Dr. Sarah Rudman, Santa Clara County’s deputy health officer, told ABC7. “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.”
Great advice from the @CAPublicHealth
Keep it safe this Halloween by:
– Stay home if you’re sick
– Test and treat if you have symptoms.
– Consider wearing a high-quality mask in crowds
– Washing your hands
Learn more: https://t.co/TxHSz6jouu pic.twitter.com/pltSUVNK3d
— Alameda County Health Care Services Agency (@Dare2BWell) October 31, 2023
Several other California counties implemented mask recommendations this year, as well, including Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties. Los Angeles County currently requires every healthcare worker who has not received the COVID-19 vaccine booster to wear a mask when they come in contact with patients, while San Bernardino County“strongly recommends” that individuals wear masks in indoor public settings at all times.
Supporters of the rule argued that mask mandates would prevent a “tripledemic” of RSV, the flu and COVID-19, according to ABC7. There has been an “incredible pushback” against previous attempts to mandate masks in the area, according to Dr. Karen Smith, the interim health officer for Sonoma County.
“We’re over it,” one California hospital worker, who asked to remain anonymous, told Fox KTVU News. “Our patients, we still don’t know if they’re coming in with [C]ovid, but it doesn’t scare me.”
The mask mandates will remain in place for until at least March 2024, according to ABC7.
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