Sonoma County and six other Bay Area counties on Friday urged the wearing of masks in indoor public places, a response to an alarming rise of new Covid cases.
Sonoma County’s reported new cases show an increase of 71 positive cases in the past 24 hours and the daily case rate is now 6.4 per 100,000 and rising. Masks, even worn by vaccinated people, are an important deterrent, officials said.
“The Delta variant is spreading quickly, and everyone should take action to protect themselves and others against this potentially deadly virus,” said Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase.
The counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma, and the City of Berkeley issued the joint recommendation Friday. It calls for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks indoors in public places.
As it reads now, the statement is a recommendation and not a legal mandate. That may change of the infection rate continues to rise.
Businesses are urged to adopt universal masking requirements for customers entering indoor areas of their businesses to provide better protection to their employees and customers. Workplaces must comply with Cal/OSHA requirements and fully vaccinated employees are encouraged to wear masks indoors if their employer has not confirmed the vaccination status of those around them.
In June, the Delta variants comprised 43 percent of all specimens sequenced in California. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that Delta variants are now responsible for 58 percent of new infections across the country.
Fully vaccinated people are well-protected from infections and serious illness due to known COVID-19 variants including Delta variants, Mase said. But people are recommended to wear masks indoors in settings like grocery or retail stores, theaters, and family entertainment centers, even if they are fully vaccinated as an added layer of protection for unvaccinated residents.
“After vaccination, masking is the next most powerful tool we have to protect ourselves and each other during this latest wave of infections,” said Dr. Mase. “Wearing masks, especially indoors and in crowded outdoor settings, will help us contain this more transmissible variant.”
Visit www.socoemergency.org/vaccine to learn where you can find a vaccination site near you or call 211. If you missed your second dose, please find a vaccination clinic near you.