Twelve Bay Area health officers — including San Mateo County’s — are stressing the importance of taking safety precautions, including continued masking indoors, as the region experiences a new swell of COVID cases and hospitalizations.
The Bay Area now has California’s highest COVID infection rates. The current wave is fueled by highly contagious Omicron subvariants. Bay Area counties are seeing increases in reported cases, levels of virus in sewer sheds and hospitalizations. Actual case rates are higher than those reported because of widespread use of home tests.
County data reveal a recent uptick in cases in the early part of May, when daily case counts jumped above 300. That number has since droped under 200 in recent days. The daily case counts are still significantly lower than the January surge which saw the count jump above 2,500. Hospitalizations are also up but still low, with 29 hospitalized with COVID in the county.
The health officers for the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma, as well as the city of Berkeley, reiterate their continued, strong support for people to mask up indoors, keep tests handy and ensure they are up to date on vaccinations by getting boosters when eligible.
“While San Mateo County is not currently considering implementing a local health order to require indoor masking, we stress that this is a time for everyone to take advantage of all the protective measures they can,” said Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County health officer, in a press release.
Although not required, masking is strongly recommended by the California Department of Public Health for most public indoor settings, and health officials say wearing higher-quality masks (N95/KN95 or snug-fitting surgical masks) indoors is a wise choice that will help people protect their health. Vaccines remain the best protection against severe disease and death from COVID, according to the press release.
Health officials say people should also stay home if they feel sick and get tested right away. Officials also encourage getting tested after potential exposure and limiting large gatherings to well ventilated spaces or outdoors. For people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 infection, medications are available that can reduce your chances of severe illness and death, according to the press release.