Alameda County, California, is reinstituting its mask mandate in most indoor public settings on Friday as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, the Los Angeles Times reports.
It is the first time a California county has issued a mask mandate since the end of the omicron surge this past winter. It does not affect K-12 schools, which are almost out for summer break, or the city of Berkeley, which has its own health department.
Oakland, however, is under the mandate.
''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 Dr. Nicholas Moss, Alameda County's health officer. ''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.''
Alameda County has averaged more than 830 new cases a day over the last seven days, the Times reported. That is an increase of 20% from two weeks ago.
The statewide average has been 14,692 new cases a day, a rise of 30% from two weeks ago, the paper reported. While hospitalizations have risen 41% over two weeks ago, deaths have decreased almost 12%.
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