Alameda County issued a new mask mandate for most indoor public spaces after COVID-19 cases rose. The county houses Oakland and the Bay Area’s second-most populous county. This is the first time a California county has issued a mask mandate since the Omicron surge faded.
The new order doesn’t apply to K-12 school settings through the end of the school year. It does not apply to Berkeley, a part of Alameda County, but the city has its public health department. However, Berkeley’s K-12 public school system implemented an indoor mask mandate.
“Rising COVID cases in Alameda County are now leading to more people being hospitalized, and today’s action reflects the seriousness of the moment,” Dr. Nicholas Moss, Alameda County’s health officer, 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.”
Coronavirus Rates in Alameda County
Unfortunately, Alameda County has one of California’s highest coronavirus transmission rates. The county has reported about 354 cases a week for every 100,000 residents for the past week. And that figure has climbed 20% since Mid-May; these numbers are alarming. In contrast, Los Angeles County’s rate is 299 cases a week for every 100,000 residents.
In addition, the rate of new weekly hospitalizations jumped significantly in the past week. The county is now reporting 9.3 new weekly coronavirus-positive hospitalizations for 100,000 residents. This is a 26% increase from last week. Alameda County’s new weekly coronavirus-positive hospitalizations rate is 75% worse than L.A. County.
The CDC recommends that residents in a high COVID-19 community levels practice masking in public indoor areas. And last week, the CDC placed 13 California counties in the high COVID-19 community level, thus, affecting 1 in 6 Californians. The affected counties include Santa Clara, Sonoma, Solano, Marin, and Napa in the Bay Area; Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, and El Dorado in the Sacramento Valley area; and Monterey, Mendocino, San Benito, and Del Norte elsewhere in Northern California.
The reinstatement of the mask order in Alameda County comes as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Southern California continue to climb.