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State Will Roll Back Mask Requirements In California Hospitals, Nursing Homes In April

Three HDM masks rest on a windowsill.
NIOSH-approved N95 masks are recommended to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 omicron variant.
(Jennifer Swanson
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More pandemic-related rules are ending next month. The California Department of Public Health says on April 3, masks will no longer be required in high-risk health settings, and health workers will no longer be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The state is giving high-risk patients for whom a COVID infection could spell medical disaster one month's notice.

Where are masks still mandatory?

State and county data shows numerous outbreaks and deaths throughout the pandemic tied to medically fragile people grouped together. Masks have stayed in place in high-risk places such as hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and warming and cooling shelters. California’s COVID public health emergency ended Feb. 28 but the mask rule in high-risk places stayed, because it was put in place under a health order.

What about in L.A.?

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is reviewing the revised guidelines the state released today and will have additional information next week.

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Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health, indicated in a February press conference that Public Health would likely follow the mask expiration date set by the state.

“The reason we're all wearing masks in health care facilities is because we're under a state health officer order,” Ferrer said Feb. 16. “If the state health officer order is lifted we're very likely to align with that.” Ferrer did not comment on the vaccine mandate for health workers.

L.A.'s COVID emergency ends March 31

Citing the evolution of the pandemic and the expiration of the state's emergency health order, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted this week to end the county’s COVID emergency health order on March 31, 2023. The federal public health emergency will end May 11, 2023.

What questions do you have about the pandemic and health care?
Jackie Fortiér helps Southern Californians understand the pandemic by identifying what's working and what's not in our health response.

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