Amid a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases due to the spread of the more contagious Delta variant of the virus, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency is recommending all San Diegans wear facial coverings in indoor public settings.
While vaccinated people are no longer required to wear a face covering in most settings, the California Department of Public Health updated its guidance for those who are fully vaccinated to strongly encourage the continued use of face coverings indoors.
The guidance recommends that all Californians, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in indoor public settings. People who are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19 should be particularly cautious, as well as people who share a household with someone who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease, not fully vaccinated, or not yet eligible for vaccination.
Indoor masking for vaccinated people is also supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which notes that individual and community-level prevention measures, in addition to vaccination, have been shown to help reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
The new guidance is in addition to CDPH mandates requiring masks on public transit, in transportation hubs like airports, indoors in K-12 schools and childcare centers, emergency shelters, cooling centers, healthcare settings, state and local correctional facilities and detention centers, homeless shelters, long term care settings and adult and senior care facilities.
Additionally, masks are required for unvaccinated individuals in indoor public settings and businesses, retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers and state and local government offices serving the public.
“Indoor masking, regardless of vaccination status, adds an additional layer of protection and reduces the risk of transmission of COVID-19,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “If you are not fully vaccinated yet, I urge you to get your shot now, so we can slow the spread of this more contagious strain of COVID-19.”
No-cost COVID-19 vaccines are widely available in the region. They can be found at medical providers, retail pharmacies, community clinics and County public health centers for people who do not have a medical provider. For a list of locations and more information, visit www.coronavirus-sd.com/vaccine.