County of Marin Health and Human Services

Public Health Newsletter - October 2023

Public Health Newsletter - October 2023
Marin County Public Health Newsletter - October 2023
In this Issue: Drop-in Clinics | Fentanyl Advisory I COVID-19 | Health Worker - Mental Health | PrEP | Masking | Childhood Lead Week | Message from the Public Health Officer 
A message to physicians and other health care providers from Marin County's Public Health Officers.

Drop-in Vaccination Clinics Return to Marin

In November, Marin Public Health, Safeway, and Marin Community Clinics are offering COVID-19, flu, and RSV vaccines to those aged 19 and above at the Marin Health and Wellness Campus on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Both walk-ins and appointments are accepted.

Fentanyl Advisory

On October 3, 2023, the Marin County Public Health (MCPH) department issued a public health advisory describing a spike in fentanyl use and overdoses. Since that time, levels have normalized, but this serves as a reminder of the unpredictability and variability of fentanyl supply and use.

Tracking Local COVID-19 Severe Illness Burden

Marin Publlic Health is adding a new feature to the COVID 19 hospitalization dashboard. Starting this week, the number of new COVID-19 admissions per day into Marin hospitals will be shown in an interactive display. Tracking daily admissions helps describe trends in rates of severe illness in Marin. The current trend is stable and will be monitored closely for the onset of a seasonal surge. 

Health Worker - Mental Health

The CDC released  a recent study showing that health workers are under unprecedented stress, reporting more poor mental health days and higher levels of burnout and harassment than in pre-pandemic times and compared to other industries. There are physician wellness resources available from San Francisco Marin Medical Society to address this critical issue. By providing a supportive workplace, employers can promote health worker well-being.


Masking Order

Marin County, alongside other Bay Area counties, instituted a health order that requires patients, staff and visitors to wear a mask in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities for the fall and winter virus season, November 1, 2023 through March 31, 2024. It applies to all individuals within the facility while they are in patient care areas. Children under age 6 and those with a valid medical reason are exempt.

PrEP Recommendations

The US Preventive Services Task Force has given a grade A endorsement of Pre Exposure Prophylaxis drugs to prevent HIV, including Descovy and Truvada (daily pills), as well as cabotegravir (long acting injectable). This designation validates this as standard of care and requires private insurers to cover the cost with no copay or deductible under the Affordable Care Act.

Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

The week of October 22nd marks National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, and the theme is “Together, we can prevent lead exposure!” Routine screening of children is the best prevention.  Lead-based paint is of a particular concern in Marin County, where more than 74% of the housing was built before 1978.  MCPH offers resources and more information for providers.


Message from the Public Health Officer

The CDC report on healthcare worker mental health above resonates with many of us in our local healthcare community. The report shows that the feelings of stress we may be experiencing are common and shared. Despite this, isolation, or a feeling of “aloneness” in our experience, is a common feature of burnout. As stewards of health, we are often better at focusing on our patients than ourselves. Across Marin, grassroots “meet up” groups are forming to foster community among clinicians, and institutions are establishing wellness initiatives. Clinician well-being is a public health priority, and we are grateful for the care you extend to one another. 

Yours in health,

Matt Willis, MD, MPH
Public Health Officer


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Marin County Public Health, a division of the Marin County Health & Human Services Department

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