California Mask Mandate for Healthcare Settings Lifts April 3

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California is finally lifting its mask mandate for individuals in healthcare settings, per updated guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

The department announced the changes last week, citing the end of the Golden State’s coronavirus State of Emergency, which wrapped up roughly three years after the start of the pandemic.

As a result, masking will no longer be universally required in healthcare settings, beginning April 3.

Per the CDPH:

Consistent with the SMARTER Plan and our adaptation of the SarsCoV-2 virus in our lives, California is updating its masking guidance. Effective April 3, 2023, ​the updated guidance is intended to provide information that each Californian should consider based on their unique circumstances. The updated guidance is unchanged for general community settings and continues to use a framework based on the CDC COVID-19 Community Levels. The updated guidance replaces mandatory masking requirements in high-risk settings with recommendations, which are also based on the CDC COVID-19 Community Levels​.

“People can wear a mask based on personal preference, informed by their own personal level of risk,” the CDPH guidance for low risk community levels reads, urging vulnerable individuals to “consider” wearing one. 

The guidance also urges everyone to “consider” wearing a mask in a community with medium spread of the virus, and the department recommends everyone mask up when in an area with high community spread. However, it does not appear to be required. 

“Wearing a mask is strongly recommended,” the guidance for staff, residents, and patients in a “high” spread community reads. 

“Facilities that are high-risk settings should make respirators (e.g., N95s, KN95s, KF94s) with good fit or surgical masks available to any residents and staff who would like to use them,” the guidance continues, emphasizing that certain groups of people — including children under the age of two and those with certain disabilities — should not wear masks. 

Across the board, CDPH still recommends masking for those who tested positive for the virus, are experiencing respiratory symptoms, or are using public transportation.

The news comes on the heels of two major Colorado hospitals — DenverHealth and UCHealth — dropping their mask requirements after three years of forced masking. 

It also comes as studies conclude that masks do little to nothing to stop the spread of the virus — a fact Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted early on in the pandemic. 

“The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through the material,” he wrote to former U.S. Health and Human Services secretary Sylvia Burwell in a February 5, 2020, email.

However, when taking office President Biden forced Americans to mask up  despite pitching “just” 100 days of masking.


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