Nurses furious as Calif. to drop hospital mask mandate, nurse vaccine requirements

California ended its COVID-19 emergency. Now, it’s rolling back its strictest rules and regulations, too.

A move by the California Department of Public Health’s to dump mandates requiring masking in indoor high-risk and health care settings nor require health care workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 beginning in April has been condemned by California’s powerful nurses union.

They argued that the decision puts health care workers at risk and is a “failure of public health leadership”. The group highlighted that the rollback came just as the state surpassed 100,000 COVID-19 deaths.


Driving the news: With the conclusion of California’s COVID-19 pandemic emergency last week, the state’s Public Health Department unfurled a number of changes to once cemented health mandates related to the endemic virus.

  • Effective March 13, the state will reduce the number of days to quarantine to five days as long as they feel well, have improving symptoms, and do not have a fever.
  • The department will rescind an order that required hospitals throughout the state to accept patients being transferred from facilities with limited intensive care capacity as needed starting April 3.
  • The most controversial item, however, was the dropping of mask mandates in high-risk settings, such as health care facilities.

What they’re saying: Leaders of the powerful California Nursing Association, excoriated state public health officials for demonstrating a “failure of public health leadership” over the changes.

  • “It’s surreal that political leaders would put nurses, patients, and community members at greater risk of developing chronic conditions like heart disease, stroke risk, diabetes, pulmonary embolism, cognitive impairment, and long-term immune dysfunction,” union president Cathy Kennedy said. 
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