Alameda County Reinstates Indoor Mask Mandate

Alameda County will require masks in most indoor public settings again starting midnight Friday, county health officials said Thursday.  It is the first Bay Area county to reinstate an indoor mask order, which had ended in February once the worst of the omicron-fueled winter surge in cases subsided.   Other Bay Area counties are not bringing back mask requirements. Contra Costa, San Mateo, Napa, Sonoma, and Solano counties on Thursday said they are not considering mandatory indoor masking — though they strongly urge residents to do so on their own, with high-quality masks such as N95s, KN95s and KF94s.

Alameda County officials said the move is to help limit the impact of increasing COVID cases on hospitalizations. Daily new cases have surpassed the peak of last summer's delta surge and are now approaching levels last seen during the winter surge of late 2020 to early 2021, the worst period of the pandemic. Hospitalizations also are now rising, after staying relatively stable for the first few weeks of the current wave. Daily new hospital admissions of patients with COVID have risen rapidly in recent days, the county said.

Alameda County has not said if it will allow exceptions to the indoor mask requirement, such as in gyms and offices where everyone is vaccinated. During earlier periods of the pandemic, people in these settings did not have to wear masks indoors even though there was a countywide indoor mask mandate for most public spaces.

Source: SF Chronicle June 2, 2022


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