Alameda County reinstates mask mandate amid Covid surge: 'We cannot ignore the data'
Health officials have urged a return to widespread masking amid a new surge in cases primarily spurred by the omicron subvariant BA.2
Alameda County health officials recently announced that they are reinstating the county's indoor mask mandate as Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to increase locally and across the Bay Area.
The mask mandate got effective on June 3 and is applicable to most indoor public settings, including grocery stores and gyms, and aims to limit the surge in Covid-19 cases. As stated in a press release on Thursday, June 2, the health officials requested a return to widespread masking amid a new surge in cases primarily spurred by the omicron subvariant BA.2. They mentioned, “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. This order does not apply to the City of Berkeley, which is an independent Local Health Jurisdiction. The Alameda County Health Officer continues to monitor COVID cases and hospitalizations to determine when this Order can be lifted safely.”
The order further stated that the students and staff at K-12 schools will not be required to wear masks under the order through the end of the 2021-2022 school year, but they will be required in all other settings for children including summer school and youth programs. The county Health Officer Dr Nicholas Moss in the press release added by saying, “Rising COVID cases in Alameda County are now leading to more people being hospitalized and today's action reflects the seriousness of the moment. We cannot ignore the data, and we can't predict when this wave may end."
Following the announcement by health officials, AC Transit, an Oakland-based public transit agency, followed suit by issuing a statement saying, "Face masks is no longer voluntary but instead required when boarding, riding, and exiting all AC Transit bus lines. The new onboard face mask requirement takes effect at 12.01 am on Friday, June 3, 2022 and remains in place until further notice. We know that this is an ever-changing process and understand that changes can generate frustration. However, slowing and ultimately eliminating the transmission of COVID-19 is a community effort."
First step to stop Covid-19
Alameda County is the first county in the Bay Area to enforce mask requirements in indoor public settings since February when the state and most counties lifted the mask requirements that were implemented to fight the winter surge driven by the omicron variant.
According to Los Angeles Times, the increase is 63 percent in cases across the state, bringing the case rate to 231 for every 100,000 residents. A rate of 100 and above is considered a high rate of transmission.