What to know in San Francisco Bay Area

Confused? Here’s what to know.

While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people who are fully vaccinated can generally abandon masks, the public health department in seven Bay Area counties and a city issued an advisory Friday recommending that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in indoor public spaces.

Alameda, Contra Costa, Navy, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma and the city of Berkeley have issued a joint statement saying that out of an abundance of precautions, they recommend indoor masks in settings such as supermarkets or retail stores, family theaters and entertainment centers – even if people are fully vaccinated – as an added layer of protection for non-vaccinated residents. The advisory is a recommendation, not a requirement, and came into effect immediately.

“We are asking our residents to collectively come together again in this effort to stem the rising cases until we can assess how our hospital capacity will be affected,” said San Francisco health officer Dr. Susan Philip.

Napa County has until Monday to issue a recommendation. Just outside the Bay Area, Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties provide similar mask masks on Monday. Solano is the only Bay Area county that has not updated its mask recommendations.

Last week, Sacramento and Yolo counties issued the same volunteer rules. Los Angeles County restored a mandatory mask requirement for indoor public spaces at midnight on Saturday.

The delta variant of the coronavirus accounted for 43% of all COVID-19 sequence specimens in California in June. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals the delta variant is responsible for 58% of new infections across the country.

Preliminary research shows vaccines are effective in protecting against delta variants. Marine County Health Director Dr. Matt Willis explained in a phone call on Friday that a mask recommendation helps prevent spread because tool cases – where people are vaccinated – are still occurring. While vaccinated infected people are more often asymptomatic and have mild cases, they can still pass the virus to non-vaccinated people, who can develop serious illnesses.

“Tools are more common than initially thought for the delta variant,” Willis said.

Willis noted that one of three new cases in Marine County is tool infection where a person is fully vaccinated to positive tests.

“We don’t see the corresponding wave of hospitalizations or deaths,” Willis said. “While we’re seeing an increase in the proportion of our cases that are tool breakthroughs, vaccine coverage is clear in preventing serious illness. That’s what interests us first.”

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