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Marin County to require masks in patient-care settings beginning Nov. 1

Marin County joins other Bay Area counties in requiring masks in patient-care settings
Marin County joins other Bay Area counties in requiring masks in patient-care settings 02:48

The threat of COVID and other respiratory viruses during flu season has Marin County requiring masks in patient-care settings. 

Linda Spence sits patiently in a waiting area at the Redwoods, a Community of Seniors. Her husband caught COVID and is still in the hospital. 

"Now, he's in care and hasn't recovered yet, and it's been over a month," said Spence. 

She welcomed the mandate coming to an end earlier this year in health care settings, but fully supports the reinstatement as the threat of flu season approaches. 

"I'm much more comfortable when I walk into space and see people with masks," said Spence. 

So does 95-year-old Melba Pucci, who prefers not wearing one, but will abide by the new county health orders.  

"Some people are bullheaded and don't want to be bothered, but  I'm not going to worry about that. I have other things to worry about," said Pucci.  

The new mandate in Marin County, requires patients, staff and visitors to wear a mask in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities for the fall and winter virus season from Nov. 1 through March 31 of next year.

"Whatever's best to help our residents.  We want to make sure we protect them from the spread. I'm happy with this," said Redwoods a Community of Seniors Director of Staff Development Polly Wright. 

The facility is an assisted living center and skilled nursing facility.

"I have not heard anyone say 'I don't wanna wear it.' I have not seen that on our side," said Wright. 

"This is the right move," said UCSF's Dr. Peter Chin-Hong.

Chin-Hong specializes in treating infectious diseases. 

"Last year the viruses came in turn RSV, influenza, and then COVID.  This year they may all come together and it may be a very difficult situation.  That's why all these precautions can go a long way," said Chin-Hong. 

For many elderly who are more vulnerable to severe respiratory viruses, it's a no brainer.

"It showed it worked before, so let's get it to work again," said Spence. 

Especially those, like Linda, who have loved ones depending on a safe environment. 

County health officials said the mandate will apply to all individuals while they are in patient care areas. Children under age 6 and those with a valid medical reason are exempt.

Dr. Chin-Hong doesn't believe there will be any subsequent health mandates for masks in schools, restaurants and other settings besides patient care facilities.

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