Health officials in seven Bay Area counties issued a new indoor mask mandate on Monday as the region faces a wave of new COVID-19 cases due to the more infectious delta variant and the remaining swath of unvaccinated residents.
“Face coverings are a simple and effective tool that everyone can use to slow the spread COVID19,” said Dr. Nicholas Moss, Alameda County Health Officer. “Using face masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status, will help us protect each other and end this summer surge.”
New York City recently became the first major U.S. city to require vaccination “proof” for activities like indoor dining and gyms. California has yet to follow suite although a group of private SF bar owners have banded together to require vaccination proof by customers.
Residents of Emeryville and the 94608 zip code have seen the largest spike in positive cases since the pandemic began. Overall Test positivity rate is approximately 4.42%. The adjacent West Oakland zip code of 94607 has the dubious distinction of having the highest transmission rate in the county currently with nearly 900 people per 100,000 infected over the past 28 days.
Roughly 81% of Emeryville residents have received at least one dose and 68% are “fully vaccinated.” Hospitalization and death data is not provided by the county by city/zip code.
The mandate will take effect Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties as well as Berkeley and require residents to wear a mask indoors in public settings like retail stores, regardless of whether they’re vaccinated or not. Napa and Solano Counties did not join in the new mask mandate.
Health officials in these seven counties also urged residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible if they have yet to do so, noting that the prevalence of the delta variant puts unvaccinated people at even higher risk of infection, serious illness and death.
While so-called breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated people are possible, the health officials noted they remain exceedingly rare and the three available vaccines also significantly reduce the chance of developing serious illness or dying from COVID-19.
Read the full county press release on acgov.org [PDF].