Well-Being Prevention & Cures

California county reinstates mask mandate amid rise in daily COVID-19 cases

“We cannot ignore the data, and we can’t predict when this wave may end.”
The Associated Press/David Goldman

Story at a glance


  • Effective Friday, residents in Alameda County will once again have to mask up inside public places.

  • The order does not apply to K-12 schools through the end of the 2021-22 school year, but county health officials strongly recommend masking.

  • Daily reported coronavirus cases in Alameda County, which is the San Francisco Bay Area’s second-most populous, have surpassed the peak of last year’s delta wave.

A county in California’s Bay Area is reviving its mask mandate for most indoor public settings to limit the impact of a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. 

Effective Friday, residents in Alameda County will once again have to mask-up inside public places like grocery stores, restaurants and gyms for the first time since the winter omicron wave. County officials cited rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, which have more than doubled over the last month.

The order does not apply to K-12 schools through the end of the 2021-22 school year, but county health officials strongly recommend masking. Masks will be required, however, in other settings such as childcare, summer school and youth programs. The City of Berkeley is exempt from the order as it has its own public health department. 

Daily reported coronavirus cases in Alameda County, which is the San Francisco Bay Area’s second-most populous, have surpassed the peak of last year’s delta wave and are now approaching levels observed during the winter 2020-21 wave, health officials said. 


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“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 Nicholas Moss said in a statement. 

“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.” 

The county is the first in California to reinstate a mask requirement since February when the state and most counties lifted mandates. 

The move comes as the U.S. is seeing a spike in daily new cases. The current seven-day moving average of new cases increased by nearly 19 percent, surpassing 101,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

But as cases climb, Americans appear to be shrugging off the risk of the virus. An Axios-Ipsos poll found last month that just 36 percent of Americans said there was significant risk in returning to their “normal pre-coronavirus life.”

 


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