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Aug 21, 2023

By Shawnte Passmore

August 24, 2023 / 6:11 PM / CBS Sacramento

WEST SACRAMENTO – As doctors warn coronavirus is on the rise, some Northern California hospitals are bringing back an old COVID-19 requirement: mask mandates.

The current spike is being blamed on summer travel with more people staying indoors to avoid the brutal heat.

Nowadays, very few people wear masks.

With this uptick, some healthcare providers are closely monitoring transmission.

Kaiser Permanente confirmed to CBS13 its Santa Rosa facilities reinstated mask mandates.

Sutter Health also said healthcare workers are masking in their San Francisco-based facilities to comply with county mask requirements.

As for the greater Sacramento area, the healthcare networks say this will not be the case in the region.

In a statement, Kaiser Permanente explained as the status of COVID-19 continues to evolve in communities, it will monitor transmission rates closely. From there, the healthcare provider will use the information to determine whether masking is required.

Sutter Health is also in lock-step with this approach, but it is also strongly recommending people to wear masks provided by their facilities.

There are the skeptics.

"They told us a bunch of crap," said Richard Staudinger, a North Sacramento resident. "I think, most of the people don't believe it now."

"I think it's more political than anything, just think they're trying to do what they did in 2020," said Carmichael resident Craig Roberts.

There are also supporters.

"I don't have a problem if they re-instate the masks," Kiona Cooper said.

Cooper said she contracted the virus earlier this year.

Outside of the debate, doctors caution cases are rising.

Yolo County's health officer said it tracks cases by using a different metric.

"Wastewater levels are rising," Dr. Aimee Sisson said. "They're in the medium level."

In Woodland, the county says it entered the high level.

The omicron subvariant EG.5 is fueling cases. However, not to the point where mask mandates are needed.

By now, people have either received their vaccines or became infected.

"I honestly think we should let our immune system work for ourselves," Anna Daniels said.

The consensus is a mask mandate is possible under certain circumstances.

"If we're going to see masking mandates, it's probably only going to be in health care settings and it's probably going to be in the winter," Dr. Sisson said.

Typically, the spread of flu, RSV and COVID-19 usually peaks during winter.

Shawnte Passmore joined CBS13 in January 2022.

First published on August 24, 2023 / 6:11 PM

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