New federal data underscores the threat of the delta variant, including that it appears to be more transmissible among vaccinated people than previously thought.
Some Bay Area counties may order everyone to mask up again indoors, as new federal data underscores the threat of the delta variant, including that it appears to be more transmissible among vaccinated people than previously thought.
Currently, eight of the nine Bay Area counties, as well as the state of California, advise, but do not require, individuals to wear masks inside, whether or not they have been vaccinated.
Solano County is the only one that hasn’t made this suggestion.
However, the scenario is rapidly changing. Indoor masks are required in Los Angeles, Yolo, and Sacramento counties.
Bay Area health authorities are keeping a tight eye on developments, with San Francisco’s director of health, Dr. Grant Colfax, saying on Friday that the city was in talks with neighboring counties and was very vigorously looking at a mask requirement, with action likely as early as next week.
Here’s where each county in the Bay Area stands on masks:
Neetu Balram, an Alameda County Public Health Department spokeswoman said that while fully vaccinated citizens are highly protected against severe disease as a result of the virus, there is little new evidence that vaccinated individuals may transmit the virus to others.
When used in conjunction with vaccines, masks provide an extra layer of protection and help to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Balram said all of these points will be taken into account when they decide if a mask requirement is necessary.
Contra Costa County
Karl Fischer, a Contra Costa County spokesman said they are closely monitoring local transmission statistics and will quickly inform the public if local health orders need to be modified or updated.
Laine Hendricks, a Marin County spokeswoman said they haven’t altered any suggestions yet, however, they are carefully watching their data and evaluating it as a possibility if the data justify, given increasing case rates both locally and regionally, including breakthrough cases.
For Napa County, there was no new information available.
San Francisco County
Mayor London Breed of San Francisco stated this week that the city is exploring whether to mandate masks once again until more people have been vaccinated and instances have decreased.
She said that they’re looking at possibilities of mandating masks for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
San Mateo County
Preston Merchant, a spokesperson for the San Mateo County Health Department said that at this time, San Mateo County is not contemplating a mask or social distancing mandate.
Regardless of vaccination status, they continue to suggest masks for everyone indoors, and they encourage everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated.
Santa Clara County
For Santa Clara County, there was no new information available.
Solano County is the only one in the Bay Area that hasn’t issued a mask recommendation.
Mask regulations, according to Jose Caballero, a senior health education expert with Solano County health and social services, will not address the main reasons contributing to the increase in cases: private social gatherings and under-vaccinated people.
According to him, the public health agency is working to improve vaccination outreach and availability for underserved areas and people.
Nonetheless, the county advises concerned community members to wear masks inside if they are uncertain of the vaccination status of individuals they are engaging with for extended periods of time.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County’s health officer, said she was highly urging everyone to use masks in indoor public places.