First California County reinstates COVID mask mandate

First California County reinstates COVID mask mandate

Alameda County issued a new mask mandate in most indoor public settings, effective Friday, as coronavirus cases climb.

The county, home to Oakland, is the San Francisco Bay Area’s second-most populous. Alameda County’s move represents the first time a California county has issued a mask mandate since the winter Omicron surge faded.

The order does not apply to K-12 school settings through the end of the school year, nor does it apply to Berkeley, which is in Alameda County but has its own public health department.

“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.”

The reinstatement comes as coronavirus cases in Southern California also continue to climb and cause disruptions.

“If we continue on the current trajectory, we could find that cases and hospitalizations end up exerting stress on our healthcare system within just a few weeks,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said during a recent briefing.

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