ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. — A county in California is bringing back its mask mandate for most indoor spaces amid a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Alameda County Health Care Services Agency officials said Thursday it would reinstate the indoor mask policy as officials see a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
The mandate went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday.
Officials said they had seen a rise in hospitalizations for COVID-19 in recent days, which has now exceeded last summer’s peak.
Under the new mandate, masks will not be required for students and staff at K-12 schools through the end of the current school year, but they are "strongly recommended."
But masks will be required in all other settings for children, including childcare, summer school, and youth programs, the agency said.
On Friday, AC Transit also reinstated the mask mandate.
AC Transit is reinstating the mask mandate, effective Friday, June 3, 2022, due to a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases. Thank you for your support and compliance while we work together to slow, and ultimately eliminate COVID-19 transmission.
Learn more: https://t.co/HGtGRWduC1
— AC Transit (@rideact) June 3, 2022
The agency added that the new mandate does not apply to the city of Berkeley, which is an independent local health jurisdiction.
“Rising COVID cases in Alameda County are now leading to more people being hospitalized and today’s action reflects the seriousness of the moment,” said Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss in a press release. “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.”
Although Alameda County is the only county in the state currently to require masks indoors, other counties in California are seeing a rise in COVID cases that has federal health officials on high alert.
On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved 13 counties in California to its “high” community level due to a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
The counties include Sacramento, Placer, Mendocino, Monterey, and Yolo.
According to CDC guidelines, if a county is marked "high," it's recommended that people wear masks indoors and on public transportation.