Top 1 Magazine

Top One Magazine

California to require indoor masking statewide

California residents will be required to wear facial coverings in all indoor public spaces from Dec. 15 to Jan. 15 to help fend off a rise in Covid-19 cases as the holidays approach.

“We are proactively putting this tool — universal indoor masking in public settings — in place to ensure we get through a time of joy and hope without a darker cloud of concern and despair,” said Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, during a press briefing Monday.

The indoor masking requirement will affect about 50 percent of the state that does not have a similar mandate, Ghaly said. Many parts of California, including the Bay Area, already have indoor mask rules, but case rates are increasing particularly in areas where masks are not required.

The state is also speeding up the testing window requirement for indoor events with more than 1,000 attendees. Those who do not provide verification of vaccination must show proof of a negative antigen test taken within one day, and within two days for a PCR test. The previous policy for providing proof of testing at so-called mega-events was 72 hours.

Lastly, California officials are also recommending but not requiring that people traveling outside the state get tested within 3-5 days of their return. The new policies all take effect Wednesday.

California has experienced a 47 percent increase in Covid cases since Thanksgiving, Ghaly said. Daily case rates have jumped from 9.6 cases per 100,000 people to over 14 cases per 100,000 during that period.

“As with every part of the pandemic, this increasing case rate is not experienced equally across the state. We have some counties that remain very low — many of the Bay Area counties, L.A. — but others are quite high,” Ghaly said. He said hospital capacity has been strained in areas where vaccination rates are low such as the counties of Riverside, San Bernardino, Mono and Inyo as well as in the Central Valley and the northernmost parts of the state.

Ghaly acknowledged some people may resist the new indoor mask policy, but said he hopes “most people see the purpose of doing this over the next month as something to protect them and their communities during a tough time.”

Delta remains the dominant variant, but Ghaly said Monday the highly contagious Omicron has the potential to replace it. The United States’ first Omicron case was detected in San Francisco this month.

“I think what we’ve already learned is this is a very, very transmissible form, and that it does have some degree of impact on vaccines,” Ghaly said. “And we’re trying to clarify that as quickly as possible so we can make good decisions for the state.”

Go To Source