San Mateo County is requiring masks at all indoor county facilities starting July 26, officials announced on Thursday.
The mandate comes in response to rising COVID-19 cases in the county and across the Bay Area, where the more transmissible Delta variant now makes up the majority of COVID-19 cases. Starting Monday, masks will be required regardless of vaccination status at all county-run offices, clinics and public facilities. Bay Area health officials announced last week they recommend people wear masks at all indoor public facilities regardless of vaccination status to protect the general public.
After months of improving case metrics, San Mateo County has seen a recent rise in COVID-19 cases, up to 71 new cases per day in the last week. Hospitalizations are rising, too, with 22 patients currently being treated for COVID-19 in the county, six of whom are in the intensive care unit.
“The increasing case numbers are a harsh reminder that we are not done with COVID and COVID is not done with us,” County Manager Mike Callagy wrote in a press release. “Let’s all continue to do our part by getting vaccinated and taking common-sense precautions so we can keep all of us safe.”
Officials have said that vaccines are highly effective against COVID-19, but those who remain unvaccinated, including all children under 12, are at the highest risk of getting sick.
Meanwhile, vaccination clinics continue to be held regularly across the county in addition to vaccine availability at local pharmacies and in doctor’s offices. Appointments can be accessed at https://myturn.ca.gov/ but most vaccine clinics accept walk-up patients. All COVID-19 vaccines are free and available regardless of immigration status.