San Mateo County joined seven other Bay Area jurisdictions in requiring masks in public indoor settings after COVID-19 has resurged in the region. The new restrictions affect all residents, not just those who are unvaccinated. It will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday.
“Across the Bay Area region, we are seeing cases surging and hospitalizations are on the rise again, particularly among the unvaccinated,” Contra Costa County Health Officer Chris Farnitano said at a noon press briefing.
Sonoma County Health Officer Sundari Mase said the uncontrolled spread of the Delta variant is prompting the new restrictions, as infection rates have soared even in the most vaccinated parts of the Bay Area. Now, 95 percent of new cases are the Delta variant, Mase said.
“This is not the same virus we were combatting last year or even a few months ago,” Mase said.
Health officials reiterated that masks are a powerful tool to stop the spread of the virus, but vaccinations remain the best protection against COVID-19.
“If you have not yet received the vaccination, now is the time to do it,” Mase said
San Mateo County is now reporting more than 100 daily new cases over the past week, with 33 people hospitalized and no new deaths. That may be because around 90 percent of residents are now vaccinated, so those who are getting sick aren’t experiencing as severe of an illness.
Vaccination rates in Pacifica and on the Coastside — hovering at about 75 percent — are lower than the countywide average. Moss Beach and El Granada report low vaccination rates at closer to 50 percent, but county officials have said that might be due to inaccurate population estimates rather than vaccine hesitancy in the region.
In the last month, Pacifica has reported 132 new cases and Half Moon Bay has seen just 23 new cases. The unincorporated parts of the Coastside have all reported fewer than 10 cases in the past 30 days.