Bay Area health officers recommend mask-wearing indoors in public, even if vaccinated

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Bay Area health officers recommend wearing masks indoors while in public, vaccinated or not
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Bay Area health officers are recommending that everyone wear masks indoors while in public, including people who are vaccinated, “out of an abundance of caution,” citing rising COVID-19 cases including the highly transmissible Delta variant.

People are recommended to wear masks indoors in settings such as grocery and retail stores, theaters, and family entertainment centers, “even if they are fully vaccinated as an added layer of protection for unvaccinated residents,” health officers for the counties of San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Sonoma, and the City of Berkeley said in a joint statement on Friday. The health officers also recommend that businesses adopt universal masking requirements for customers entering indoor areas.

As of July 14, new cases in Contra Costa County was averaging 93 per day and the daily case rate is now “5.7 per 100,000 and rising,” according to the statement. Health officials are urging residents 12 and older to get vaccinated, saying fully vaccinated people “are well-protected from infections and serious illness due to known COVID-19 variants including Delta variants.”

In June, the Delta variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 comprised of 43 percent of all specimens sequenced in California, and are responsible for 58 percent of new infections in the U.S.

“The highly infectious Delta variant is now the predominant strain in Contra Costa County,” said Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano. “While vaccines remain our best tool against COVID-19, masking in indoor and crowded outdoor settings will help us curb the spread of this latest wave of infection.”

Bay Area Health Officers said they would revisit their recommendation in the coming weeks as they monitor transmission rates, hospitalizations, deaths, and vaccination rates.