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California to end mask requirement in healthcare settings

With the COVID-19 state of emergency a thing of the past, California health officials on Friday unveiled plans to relax guidelines on masking in high-risk environments and end vaccination requirements for healthcare workers.

One of the changes announced by the California Department of Public Health is the statewide end mask requirements in healthcare and other high-risk indoor environments — including correctional facilities and emergency and homeless shelters — starting April 3.

Effective the same day, California no longer requires COVID-19 vaccinations for healthcare workers, including those in adult and immediate care facilities, correctional facilities and detention centers.

The one-month delay is designed to give local health departments and health care facilities “to develop and implement plans tailored to their needs and local conditions to continue protecting Californians through the end of the winter virus season,” the ministry said. of Public Health.

In other changes, starting March 13, a person who tests positive for COVID-19 will be able to come out of isolation after five days, provided they are feeling well, symptoms are improving and they are fever-free for 24 hours. The state’s previous recommendation was to leave isolation upon receipt of a negative rapid test on or after the fifth day after the onset of symptoms or the first positive test. For those who were unable to test or continued to test positive past day 5, the state recommended isolating for at least 10 days.

“We have now reached a point where we can update some of the COVID-19 guidance to continue to balance prevention and adaptation to living with COVID-19,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, director of public health and state health officer in California. in a statement.

The changes were announced three days after Governor Gavin Newsom officially ended California’s three-year-old COVID-19 state of emergency.

State health officials stressed that Californians will still be able to get their hands on COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments.

Californians “will continue to have access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and therapies at no out-of-pocket cost,” according to the state Health and Human Services Agency. Until Nov. 11, those with private health insurance or enrolled in Medi-Cal “will have access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and therapies from any provider with the appropriate license at no out-of-pocket cost, even if the provider is outside the health plan network of the subscriber,” the agency previously told The Times.

Cost sharing or coinsurance fees may apply to those who access these resources from an out-of-network provider after that date.

“We stand before Californians today with humble gratitude for taking the hard steps to help contain COVID-19 and with an ongoing commitment to being prepared for what comes next,” Aragón said Friday. “Our communities have done a lot of the hard work by getting vaccinated and boosted, staying home and testing if they are sick, requesting treatments if they are positive and masks to slow the spread.”