As California grapples with a surge in coronavirus cases amid the highly transmissible Delta variant, Sacramento and Yolo counties are now recommending that all residents, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors.
In separate statements, health officials in both counties urged residents to wear masks in certain indoor settings “where vaccination verification is not required and the vaccination status of others is unknown.”
“In making yesterday’s new recommendations for fully vaccinated persons to resume masking indoors and to get tested after an exposure, I am erring on the side of caution to slow the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant,” Dr. Ashlee Sisson, Yolo County’s health officer, said in a statement.
Yolo was the first county outside Southern California to advise wearing a mask indoors since the state eased its recommendations on face coverings and fully reopened its economy on June 15.
A day later, Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Sacramento County’s public health officer, urged residents to follow suit.
In a news conference Wednesday, Kasirye said there’s been a steep increase in the number of coronavirus cases reported to the county in recent days, which led to the masking recommendation.
In the greater Sacramento area — which includes Yolo County — there have been 1,999 new coronavirus cases reported in the last seven days. That case rate equals 69.6 cases per 100,000 residents, the highest regional case rate in the state, according to Times data.
“The drastic increase in cases is concerning — as is the number of people choosing not to get vaccinated,” Kasirye said in a statement. “Our best protection against COVID-19 continues to be the vaccine. We urge all eligible residents to get vaccinated in order to protect themselves, and their family and friends.”
As of Thursday, 49% of Sacramento residents and 54% of Yolo residents have been fully vaccinated, and more than half of the residents in both counties have received at least one dose. Among all Californians, almost 52% are now fully vaccinated, according to data from The Times.
Health officials warn that the spike in new coronavirus cases is almost entirely among those who are unvaccinated.
“Vaccines remain the absolute best form of protection against COVID-19, and I implore everyone who is eligible to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible,” Sisson said.
Yolo and Sacramento counties followed Los Angeles County’s initial recommendation, where residents were urged two weeks ago to continue wearing masks inside.
L.A. County took its recommendations a step further on Thursday, however, mandating that masks again be worn inside in public setting. The new public health order will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, according to the county’s health officer, Dr. Muntu Davis.