Bay Area health officers issue indoor mask mandate

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Bay Area health officials issue indoor mask mandate
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Starting Tuesday, wearing masks while in public indoor settings will be required regardless of vaccination status in seven Bay Area counties.

In a joint statement today, the public health officers for the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma and for the City of Berkeley issued the indoor masking mandate. The fast-spreading COVID-19 Delta variant is not only infecting many unvaccinated people, but also a small percentage of vaccinated people who, despite having strong protection against serious illness, could unwittingly spread the virus to others, the health officers said.

“The new Health Orders require wearing a well-fitting mask indoors in public settings,” the health officers state. “Indoor settings, whether public or private, are higher risk for COVID-19 transmission, especially when you are with people you do not live with. Health officials also recommend that all employers make face coverings available to individuals entering their businesses, and businesses are required to implement the indoor face covering order.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported information indicating that even fully vaccinated individuals can in some cases spread the Delta variant to others, “and so indoor use of face coverings provides an important added layer of protection,” the Bay Area health officers said. They urged all unvaccinated residents 12 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible, stating vaccinated people remain strongly protected against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

“During July the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in our county increased 400 percent. Four out of five of the COVID patients we see are not vaccinated, even though only one out of five Contra Costa adults are not vaccinated,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, health officer for Contra Costa, adding, “We must act now to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our community. If you are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine and have not yet done so, please do not wait any longer.”

For more information about COVID-19, and how to get a free vaccine near you, visit cchealth.org/coronavirus.