Is Covid-19 Making a Comeback in California?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending people 13 counties in California resume wearing masks indoors as of Friday, given high rates of COVID-19.

Of the state’s 58 counties, 13 were are classified as having a “high” community level of COVID-19 Friday, which comes with the mask recommendation.

“The COVID-19 community level is determined by the higher of the new admissions and inpatient beds metrics, based on the current level of new cases per 100,000 population in the past 7 days,” according to the CDC website.

Mask mandates cannot be enforced by the CDC, which can only issue recommendations. Rules are determined by local health authorities, some of which have already reinstated masking requirements.

Alameda County, which includes Oakland and part of the San Francisco Bay Area, announced it would reintroduce mask rules Friday, despite the fact it currently has a “medium” community level.

“To limit the impact of increasing COVID-19 cases on hospitalizations, today Alameda County health officials announced that masks will be required in most indoor public settings beginning 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 3, 2022,” reads a press release issued by the county.

Health authorities will not require masking in school settings through the end of the current school year, though masks are still highly recommended.

“Rising COVID cases in Alameda County are now leading to more people being hospitalized and today’s action reflects the seriousness of the moment,” Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said in the press release.

“We cannot ignore the data, and we can’t predict when this wave may end. Putting our masks back on gives us the best opportunity to limit the impact of a prolonged wave on our communities.”

Alameda County did not speculate on when the mandate could end.

In late May, the Sacramento City Unified School District told families to prepare for the possibility a mask mandate for students and staff would be reinstituted.

The district reinstated the mandate Friday.

San Benito, Santa Clara and Sacramento counties are among the other jurisdictions where the CDC recommends people wear masks indoors.

A total of 72.6% of Californians have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 53.3% of people over 12 have gotten a booster shot, according to the CDC.

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