COVID-19

Dissension Among the Ranks: Each Emerald County Goes Its Own Way Regarding Indoor Masking Mandates

The frustration of leaving your mask in the car. The sudden realization you are outside and can take off the mask without fear of dirty looks or catching the virus. These experiences have permeated the COVID-19 pandemic and have fueled the tension and polarization aimed at masking protocols.

This division has come home to roost in the form of three divergent indoor masking policies put into place in Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity Counties. Juxtaposed to proclamations of unity made by each county’s Sheriff when tasked with enforcing pandemic protocols, the fracturing of the Emerald Triangle’s public health policy represents both the local control that undergirds much of the pandemic response and the diverse perspectives on the path forward.

Let’s consider the least restrictive indoor masking protocol amongst the Emerald Triangle, Trinity County. A press release published Thursday, November 4, 2021, announced that the Trinity County Health Officer rescinded an August health order requiring face coverings in workplaces and public settings regardless of vaccination status.

Marcie Cudiziol, Trinity County’s Public Health Branch Director, told us Trinity County’s COVID-19 cases have been on a steady decline since late September. As to Trinity County residents and their cooperation with COVID-19 protocols, Cudiziol said “Overall the majority of our population have been supportive of protocols designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with it.”

Cudiziol did recognize that “there is a portion of our community that does not necessarily agree with these protocols as they see them as an infringement on their rights or are concerned with the safety of vaccines for example, and some just don’t trust the science.” Though these residents are vocal, Trinity County has not experienced “significant confrontations from members of the public in Trinity County, everyone is simply passionate about their beliefs,” Cudiziol said.

Now, turning to Humboldt County, residents there are still under an indoor masking mandate but Public Health in the county has provided metrics that will inform when officials will consider rescinding the mandate. 

The metrics that will be used to inform the rescinding of indoor masking include:

  • Humboldt County must meet the Center for Disease Control’s “yellow/moderate” transmission level for 21 consecutive days.
  • Local public health officials must determine that the impact of COVID-19 on area hospitals remains low.
  • Vaccine rates in the county reach 80% or Public Health determines “sufficient evidence of community protection against COVID-19” based on vaccination rates or other protective factors.

Humboldt County’s Public Health Director Sofia Pereira told us these metrics were chosen to “reduce the likelihood of another surge in cases and deaths.” These metrics “come down to case rates, hospital capacity, and most importantly what our vaccination rate is,” Director Pereira explained.

She said that “science and the local conditions” inform Public Health’s determinations and “we have seen the positive impacts masking and vaccination have made so far, but we are not at a stage where lifting the entire masking order would be safe.”

Though Public Health officials do not consider Humboldt County ready for rescinding indoor masking, Director Pereira said “providing these metrics to the public will hopefully help our community understand conditions we need to strive for to ensure our community’s health.”

Now, to Mendocino County. Similar to Humboldt County, the indoor mask mandate is still in effect. Unlike Humboldt County, Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren stated at a COVID-19 press conference last Friday he will not set out metrics that will guide when the county can rescind indoor masking out of concern a surge could be in the future.

Dr. Coren said he had actually participated in multiple conversations with consortiums of California health officers and many of the counties that created their indoor masking exit strategies “were in better shape a few weeks ago.”

“I am not sure we are ready to exit wearing masks,” Dr. Coren said. He described being under an “awful lot of public pressure” but expressed concern that another surge could “threaten our local health care system considerably.”

Dr. Coren asserted that masks “continue to be the least expensive, most accessible, and the least problematic, and most helpful way to avoid the respiratory viral diseases.”

The only suggestion Dr. Coren made as to when he would consider establishing parameters or metrics similar to Humboldt County is “when we see some real progress.”

Finally, with vaccinations available to those five-year-old and up as well as advancements in therapeutics, the light at the end of COVID-19 tunnel seems nearer. But, as the indoor masking mandate demonstrates, the distance to the end of that tunnel could be determined by your local public health official.

Categories: COVID-19

4 replies »

  1. Innumerable studies over many years have always failed to show that mask wearing had any measurable effect on containing respiratory viruses (flu, SARS, Covid, etc.). Here are a few of them:

    1) https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6936a5-H.pdf 85% infected wore masks
    2) NIH 32371574 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32371574/ Non-medical-grade PPE offers no protection
    3) NIH 33215698 No evidence that masks stop flu transmission
    4) NIH 27115326 No measurable effect on transmission in surgeries
    5) NIH 16295987
    6) NIH 27531371 Cloth masks don’t work
    7) NIH 4014006 Face seal leakage problematic for viruses
    8) NIH 29910210 Filtration least for viruses
    9) NIH 1524265 Surgical masks don’t block viruses
    10) NIH 33052962 SMS fibre masks don’t block sub-micron viruses
    11) NIH 32503823 Sneeze containment only blocks largest particles/droplets
    12) NIH 16920222 Laser masks don’t work
    13) NIH 32838296 Ineffective
    14) NIH 7379387 Even large particles not stopped
    15) NIH 24229526 Homemade masks didn’t stop flu virus
    16) NIH 19927872 Half-piece respirators don’t work for H1N1
    17) NIH 32590322 No additional protection from droplet transfer
    18) NIH 20575920 (RCT) Mask use actually increased infection spread
    19) NIH 1680906 Mask wearing in operating rooms unnecessary
    20) NIH 2873176 Review of operating room masking shows no effect on spread
    21) NIH 8239046 Review shows no effect for sub-micron transmission
    22) NIH 32675098 (RCT) Negligible effect on viral transmission
    23) NIH 32614681 Ventilation has large effect; masks negligible
    24) NIH 32027586 Nil effect on flu transmission or protection
    25) NIH 28487207 Hand hygiene better than masks for flu transmission
    26) NIH 32167245 (RCTs) N95 masks don’t work for flu protection
    27) NIH 32582579 Masks shown to be contamination sources
    28) NIH 32624649 Bandanas don’t stop sneezes
    29) NIH 19216002 (RCT) Doesn’t stop common cold
    30) NIH 25903751 (RCT) Cloth masks don’t work & actually increase transmission
    31) NIH 20584862 Common fabrics offer nil sub-micron protection
    32) NIH 18326870 N95 don’t protect against viruses
    33) NIH 16490606 N95 don’t protect from virions
    34) NIH 33205991 Mask use failed to reduce infection rate by >50%
    35) NIH 9487666 N95 can’t block sub-micron particles
    36) https://www.rcreader.com/commentary/masks-dont-work-covid-a-review-of-science-relevant-to-covide-19-social-policy The famous Rancourt review (includes some of the above studies)
    37) https://www.citizensforfreespeech.org/why_masks_don_t_work_against_covid_19 Multiple studies, including:
    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection/article/face-masks-to-prevent-transmission-of-influenza-virus-a-systematic-%20review/64D368496EBDE0AFCC6639CCC9D8BC05#

    Also, see if you can guess when mask mandates went into effect: https://www.covidchartsquiz.com/masks

    Mask mandates aren’t “science” (i.e. observing, hypothesizing, testing).
    They are all about control of the many by the few.

  2. If you just ignore these Draconian rules and go along with your daily life and not let people yell at you for not wearing a mask inside of a building that they don’t even own and they’re just getting a minimum wage to work at then life goes by totally normal and there is no pandemic

  3. So these vaccine cowards did they investigate the polio vaccine because they got one to attend public school …and TB. This is a frail excuse by unintelligent uninformed lead by the nose fools. If you didn’t get the vaccine don’t bring your dumbass to the hospital demanding they save your worthless ass.

    • trying to be kind here ….you should feel blessed that i will never be your first responder. pendulum swings both ways.

      by the way our local hospital is not in overload mode i have witnessed that numerous times in the last 2 months.

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