As you put away those zombie masks and Halloween decorations, it might be a good time to pull out that box of surgical or KN95 face masks again as respiratory virus season gets underway, especially if you are headed to the doctor’s office soon.
In Santa Clara County, everyone — patients, caregivers and healthcare providers — will be required to wear face masks in public patient care areas in hospitals, clinics, and long term care facilities for the “winter respiratory virus period,” starting Nov. 1 and lasting five months through the end of March.
Alameda, San Mateo, Contra Costa, and Sonoma counties will require health care workers to mask up in patient care areas starting Wednesday, after local public health officials passed mandates earlier this fall requiring seasonal masking rules.
As respiratory virus season gains steam, health officials say it’s a good idea to check stocks of rapid COVID tests. Consumers might still be eligible for another delivery of free COVID tests from the federal government. The Biden administration resurrected the program as of Sep. 25, and if you haven’t yet you can request a shipment of four rapid at-home tests through the USPS site.
In California, COVID positivity rates were on the rise starting in July, and peaked in late August. In September the positivity rate started to come back down, but plateaued in mid-October at just above 6%. It has risen a little since then.
Chance of getting long COVID highest with original strain of the virus: study
Have Bay Area students recovered from pandemic learning losses? Here’s what state test scores show
More working Californians slipped into poverty as pandemic aid expired
Opinion: Trying to find the right balance of in-person and remote work
Big Tech said return to the office or else. She had another solution
Wastewater data shows medium levels of COVID in all of Santa Clara County’s sewersheds at the end of October, down from high transmission levels over the last two months.
Beyond masking in health care settings, public health officials have been encouraging everyone 6 months and older to get the most recent COVID shot, a flu shot, and for the most vulnerable, the vaccine to protect against RSV.