I emailed this message to our county public health officer and my district supervisor.

Subject: Please keep our communities safer from COVID-19

To: Wilma J. Wooten, MD, MPH
Public Health Officer, San Diego Health and Human Services Agency

Cc: Chairwoman Nora Vargas
San Diego County Supervisor District 1

Dear Dr. Wooten and Chairwoman Vargas,

I am writing to express my deep concern about the spread of COVID-19 in healthcare settings due to the lack of mitigations like masking. Nobody should have to worry about getting COVID while seeking care and healthcare workers should not have to fear contracting it at work. We know that COVID is airborne, people can be infectious without showing symptoms, and two-way masking with well-fitting respirators is effective at reducing its spread.

I am at a higher risk myself due to some heart issues. I was incredibly dismayed when I went in for a routine visit to my cardiologist and saw none of the staff were masked. I am particularly concerned for our disabled and immunocompromised community members who have had to be extremely cautious during the ongoing pandemic (and before). Most places in society have become even more hostile to their existence in the rush “back to normal.” Now some of the most important places for them, healthcare settings, are no longer safe for them either.

A conservative count from the US Health and Human Services showed that over 138,000 hospital-acquired COVID infections occurred in the first three months of 2023.1 We know that COVID infection — no matter how mild — puts people at risk of an array of long-term health issues. I also consider this an equity and racial justice issue since COVID disproportionately impacts BIPOC people.

I know county guidance “strongly recommends” masking in healthcare settings, but that is clearly not sufficient. I believe universal masking in healthcare settings must become a standard part of infection control. I urge you to work towards making that a county mandate. I would also urge for programs to make high-quality respirators readily available to all, along with clearer public health messaging about their effectiveness. Together, these actions will help keep our communities safer from COVID.

Some additional resources:

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Gregor Morrill
San Diego resident of District 1


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Not too surprisingly, I never heard back on this message. I just forwarded it again with the comment:
I never heard back on this message. I would appreciate some attention to this since we are in yet another, entirely predictable surge of COVID-19. Hospital admissions are up 33% since last week. What steps are being taken to encourage/require masking, improve ventilation, etc?