CENTRAL COAST, Calif. (KION) Health officials in Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Napa counties issued a joint statement saying that they are now recommending indoor mask use in public places for everyone, not just those who are unvaccinated.
In the statement, they said the change comes as the number of COVID-19 cases rises locally and there are more reports of the Delta Variant. They also said COVID-19 hospitalizations among the unvaccinated are increasing.
They said the measure is out of an abundance of caution, and they are urging businesses to adopt making requirements for all customers entering indoor areas to make sure employees and other customers are protected. They said it is also a way to make sure unvaccinated people are wearing masks.
Workplaces will still need to follow Cal/OSHA requirements.
In June, the Delta variant made up 43% of all samples sequenced in California, but it is now responsible for 58% of new cases around the country, according to CDC data.
Health officials say fully vaccinated people are still well protected from COVID-19 infections and serious illness. They said they will look at the recommendation again in the coming weeks as they monitor transmission rates, hospitalizations, deaths and vaccination rates.
Statewide, the positivity rate has risen to 4.1%. It has not been that high since February.
This is a developing story.