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Department of Health Services

COVID-19 Information


COVID-19 can easily spread between people who are in close contact with one another. Wearing a mask is an important tool in our fight against COVID-19. A high-quality mask along with vaccination, testing, and physical distancing helps protect you and others by reducing the chance of spreading COVID-19.

Healthcare facilities should develop their own plans for when to recommend or require source control masking in their healthcare setting.

Masking best practices (see When and Why to Wear a Mask)

  • Wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, runny nose, and/or sore throat).
  • Wear a mask if you have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Wear a mask if you had a close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Wear a mask If you or those around you are at high risk of getting very sick.

An effective mask has both good fit and good filtration

Good fit and good filtration improve protection of others if you are infected AND protection for you if you are exposed to an infected person. An N95 is best, a KN95 or KF94 is better, a surgical mask is good, while a cloth mask is considered fair:

Wear your mask correctly

  • Cover your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  • Make sure it fits snugly on the sides of your face and the bridge of your nose.

Masks in the workplace

For masking in the workplace, employers and employees can review Cal/Osha’s COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations as well as Cal Osha’s COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations FAQs.

Remember, it is illegal for employers to retaliate against any worker for using face coverings.

Wildfire Smoke Masking Guidance

Wildfire smoke can be a hazard for workers even when they are not close to a fire. The smoke contains very fine particles in the air. For information on masking during poor air quality events, please see CalOSHA’s guidance.