Saturday, July 24, 2021

County Recommends Masking in All Indoor Public Spaces

Posted By on Sat, Jul 24, 2021 at 8:04 AM

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Humboldt County Public Health is recommending that everyone once again mask in public, indoor spaces amid a rise in spread of the Delta variant.

Humboldt now joins 25 other California counties in making the recommendation, while Los Angeles County has gone a step further and re-imposed its mask mandate as it faces renewed concerns about hospital capacity.

Locally, Humboldt County is coming off one of its worst weeks of virus spread since the post-holiday surge in January, having confirmed 169 cases with a test-positivity rate of 11.9 percent. The press release announcing the masking recommendation describes it as "an extra precautionary measure" for those who are fully vaccinated, one that also "ensures easy verification that all unvaccinated people are masked in those settings," as is still required by the state.

"We still have many unvaccinated people in our community who are vulnerable to serious illness from this virus," Health Director Sofia Pereira said in a press release, referring to the 45 percent of local residents who remain unvaccinated. "Masking is a reasonable precaution we can all take in light of our recent case rate increase and the rise of the Delta variant."

The county's press release also encourages businesses to adopt universal masking practices for customers in indoor areas.

"We've all sacrificed to get to a point where vaccine is widely available," Health Officer Ian Hoffman said in a press release, and our gains in containing this pandemic have been hard won, so we don't make this recommendation lightly," Health Officer Ian Hoffman said in the release.

See the county's full press release copied below:


July 23, 2021 - Humboldt County Public Health Recommends Masking Indoors Amid Rise in Delta Variant
Humboldt County joins 25 other California counties in recommending that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask indoors in public places.

As the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19 is increasingly circulating locally, masking indoors is an extra precautionary measure for those who are fully vaccinated and ensures easy verification that all unvaccinated people are masked in those settings. The State of California requires unvaccinated individuals to wear a mask indoors.

Locally, the Delta variant made up 25% of sequenced samples in June, and health officials anticipate that number will increase. The Delta variant represents more than 50% of sequenced COVID-positive test samples statewide, according to the most recent genomic sequencing data from the California Department of Public Health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that the Delta variant is now responsible for 83% of new infections across the country.

Federal health officials have recently reported that more than 97% of people hospitalized nationwide for COVID-19 and more than 99% of those who died were unvaccinated.

People are recommended to wear masks indoors in settings like grocery or retail stores, theaters and family entertainment centers, even if they are fully vaccinated, as an added layer of protection for unvaccinated residents, including those with compromised immune systems and children under 12 who can’t yet get vaccinated.

Humboldt County Public Health Director Sofia Pereira said, “We still have many unvaccinated people in our community who are vulnerable to serious illness from this virus. Masking is a reasonable precaution we can all take in light of our recent case rate increase and the rise of the Delta variant.”

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman said, “We’ve all sacrificed to get to a point where vaccine is widely available, and our gains in containing this pandemic have been hard won, so we don’t make this recommendation lightly.”

Dr. Hoffman added that Public Health will continue to closely monitor rates of vaccination as well as local virus transmission, hospitalizations and deaths and revisit this recommendation in the coming weeks.

Businesses are encouraged to adopt universal masking practices for customers entering indoor areas to provide better protection to employees and customers. Workplaces must also comply with Cal/OSHA requirements in regards to masking, including providing masks to unvaccinated employees. Fully vaccinated employees can also choose to wear a mask in the workplace.

Those who are fully vaccinated are well protected from infections and serious illness from known COVID-19 variants, including Delta. Health officials say vaccinating as many people as possible, as soon as possible, is the best defense against severe infection. Vaccines are safe, effective, free and widely available to everyone ages 12 and older.

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Individuals with only one dose of Pfizer or Moderna are not fully protected. Completion of the vaccine series is necessary to provide full protection.

Visit myturn.ca.gov or vaccines.gov to find a vaccination site or call the COVID-19 Community Information Line at 707-441-5000.

Statewide data can be monitored at covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view. View local data on the Humboldt County Data Dashboard at humboldtgov.org/dashboard.

For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit cdc.gov or cdph.ca.gov. Local information is available at humboldtgov.org or by contacting covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or calling 707-441-5000.

Sign up for COVID-19 vaccination: MyTurn.ca.gov
Check for vaccine availability at a local pharmacy: Vaccines.gov
Local COVID-19 vaccine information: humboldtgov.org/VaccineInfo
Humboldt County COVID-19 Data Dashboard: humboldtgov.org/Dashboard
Follow us on Facebook: @HumCoCOVID19
Instagram: @HumCoCOVID19
Twitter: @HumCoCOVID19
Humboldt Health Alert: humboldtgov.org/HumboldtHealthAlert
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Thadeus Greenson

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Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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