California Ends Mask Requirement for Healthcare Workers

California lifted its COVID masking requirements in health care settings Monday but two Bay Area counties are keeping masking rules in place.

Contra Costa and Alameda counties are allowing hospitals to set their own masking policies for doctors and nurses.

But both counties are still requiring masks for staff in skilled nursing homes. 

John Muir Health will only mandate masks for vulnerable patients and Kaiser Permanente is also lifting the requirements for patients and visitors.

UCSF Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, said the timing of this new guidance makes sense.

“Hospitalizations are down more than 20% in the last two weeks. Deaths are down as well,” he said. “But one would say that the deaths are still way too high, even though it seems that COVID is at the back of our minds right now, there are still sick people in the hospital.”

Chin-Hong points out that even though we are at the tail end of this pandemic, COVID is still killing over 200 Americans per day, which makes COVID much more deadly than the flu.

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