Starting Wednesday, Contra Costa County will require that masks be worn in all public indoor places, regardless of vaccination status, due to the rapid spread of the highly-transmissible omicron variant of COVID-19.
Previously in Contra Costa, “fully vaccinated public speakers and performers, and fully vaccinated groups of 100 or fewer people were allowed to remove their face coverings under controlled conditions,” health officials said.
Dr. Ori Tzvieli, Contra Costa County deputy health officer, anticipates the COVID case rate and hospitalization numbers will increase in the coming weeks due to omicron and imposed the stricter masking mandate with the aim of reducing the virus’ spread.
“The first case of the omicron variant was first identified in the county on Dec. 18, and since then case rates and hospitalizations have significantly increased,” County officials said. “The average number of daily new COVID-19 cases has increased 149 percent over the last week and hospitalizations have risen 31 percent.”
Health officials say cases and hospitalizations have involved both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people and are urging everyone to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as they are available.
“COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses, continue to offer the most effective protection against hospitalization and death from all variants of COVID-19 circulating in the county,” according to public health officials.
For more information, go to coronavirus.cchealth.org.