COVID-19: Bay Area mandates indoor masks amid Delta variant

Health

Los Angeles Times 02 August, 2021 - 06:11pm 64 views

The move comes several weeks after Los Angeles County became one of the first in the nation to return to an indoor mask mandate, and Monday’s move greatly expands the number of people in California covered by such rules.

Health officers from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties and the city of Berkeley made the joint announcement Monday afternoon. They said the Delta variant is causing cases and hospitalizations to escalate and predicted that deaths also will rise in the coming weeks.

Most Bay Area residents who have been hospitalized were unvaccinated, but the elderly and people with underlying conditions who were fully vaccinated also are succumbing to the Delta variant, the officers said. They said the new mandate arose from a rise in hospitalizations and a new understanding that even the vaccinated may spread the virus.

“This is not the same virus we were combatting last year,” said Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari R. Mase, noting that it is 60% more infectious than previous variants.

“Quite frankly,” added Dr. Lisa Hernandez, Berkeley’s health officer, “vaccines are keeping thousands out of Bay Area hospitals and morgues right now.”

The order will go into effect Tuesday at midnight, and officials said they intended it to be temporary, although they did not provide a timeline. They also said they hoped requiring masks would preempt the need for more drastic restrictions such as closures of public spaces and businesses.

“The goal of these orders is to avoid disrupting our businesses’ continued operations and residents’ everyday activities,” Dr. Lisa Santora, deputy health officer for Marin County, said at a news conference.

Restaurants and bars for indoor service will remain open, but patrons will have to wear masks when they are not eating or drinking, the officers said. The officers said they also continue to support the reopening of schools as long as students and staff wear masks.

Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa’s health officer, said unvaccinated people should avoid indoor dining, gyms and theaters until they are immunized. Four out of 5 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in the county have been unvaccinated, he said.

In Marin County, where vaccinations rates are high, about 1 out of every 7 to 8 people hospitalized for COVID-19 were vaccinated.

In Sonoma, 86% of those in the hospital now for COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Two fully vaccinated individuals have died in Sonoma. Both were older than 90 and had underlying health ailments.

In San Francisco, 9.3 people out of every 1,000 people are contracting the disease, even though they are fully vaccinated. The number for the unvaccinated is at 78.2 for every 1,000 people.

Farnitano said most of the COVID-19 patients in Contra Costa hospitals are in their 40s, 50s, and early 60s because most older people have been vaccinated. He described the patients as gasping for breath, with tubes down their throats and hooked up to machines.

“Even if you survive a COVID hospitalization, it is terrible experience,” he said.

San Francisco’s mask mandate came just as the city was celebrating the return of its iconic cable cars, which were shut down in the pandemic.

Dr. Naveena Bobba, San Francisco’s acting health director, stressed that the vaccines continue to be protective. Those who are fully vaccinated remain less likely to contract the disease and more likely to have only mild disease if they do, she said.

On July 17, Los Angeles County started requiring all residents, regardless of vaccination status, to again wear masks in indoor public spaces as case counts ticked upward. Some local governments and business owners are going a step further with more stringent rules such as requiring people to show proof of vaccination before being allowed to enter a place.

While Los Angeles County officials are hoping the mask rules will slow the new surge, it will take at least several more days to know if the measure is effective.

Based on assessment of transmission rates this week, county health officials said in statement they “will have a more complete picture to inform this discussion by the end of the week.”

The current surge in cases is hitting the those who are unvaccinated community hard. People who are vaccinated enjoy are strong protected strongly against contracting the coronavirus and, if they do contract it, have less serious illnesses.

“The tragic reality is that almost every single person hospitalized and dying from COVID-19 is unvaccinated and these hospitalizations and deaths are, for the most part, preventable,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the Los Angeles County public health director, said in a statement.

Last week, California urged everyone — even those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — to wear masks indoors while in public, joining a renewed national push to increase protection amid an ongoing spike in cases. But the ultimate goal is to persuade those who have not been vaccinated to get their shots, which experts say is vital to reversing the surge.

“As always, as occurred in parts of the Bay Area today, local health jurisdictions may put in place guidance more restrictive than the state based on local conditions,” the California Department of Public Health’s communications office said in a statement.

From July 18 to 24, providers throughout the state administered an average of just more than 64,000 vaccines a day — about 3,100 more daily doses than the week before.

An increasing number of institutions are requiring proof of vaccination in hopes of protecting both workers and the public.

Get breaking news, investigations, analysis and more signature journalism from the Los Angeles Times in your inbox.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

Maura Dolan is the California-based legal affairs writer for the Los Angeles Times. She covers the California Supreme Court and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. A California native, she graduated from UC Berkeley and has worked in Washington and Los Angeles for The Times. She is now based in San Francisco.

Lila Seidman covers trending and breaking news for the Los Angeles Times.

Read full article at Los Angeles Times

Masks will be required indoors in Santa Clara County - San José Spotlight

San José Spotlight 02 August, 2021 - 02:51pm

Officials announced the health order during a news conference on Monday. The order, which takes effect midnight on Tuesday, applies to most public settings, with limited exceptions, in Santa Clara County, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Sonoma and the city of Berkeley.

People in restaurants or bars can remove masks to eat and drink. But masks must remain on inside gyms, movie theaters, hair and nail salons or retailers. In Santa Clara County, businesses are obligated to enforce the mask mandate. Residents can submit complaints about businesses failing to do this on the county website.

Officials said this is a necessary step because the Delta variant is responsible for a significant spike in hospitalizations of unvaccinated individuals. Some vaccinated individuals have also been hospitalized, although those cases are infrequent and tend to be elderly and with significant co-morbidities.

The announcement reflects guidance from both California Department of Public Health and the CDC.

“We wish we weren’t in this place right now having to make this order,” said George Hahn, deputy health officer for Santa Clara County, on Monday. “But what’s happened is the virus has changed. The Delta variant is now the predominant variant in our area and across the county.”

Hahn and other officials emphasized that masks are a simple and effective tool to prevent transmission, and they recommended using surgical or medical grade face coverings. They are also encouraging private businesses and local municipalities to require employees to get vaccinated or tested for COVID-19.

“Quite frankly, vaccines are keeping thousands (of people) out of Bay Area hospitals and morgues right now,” said Lisa Hernandez, Berkeley’s health officer.

Santa Clara County did not have data on the percentage of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 who are vaccinated.

But Hahn said the vast majority of cases involve unvaccinated individuals, which is a trend common to other Bay Area counties. Naveena Bobba, deputy director of health for San Francisco, said the rate of hospitalizations for the fully vaccinated in her city is 9.3 out of 1,000 cases. For the unvaccinated, it’s 72 out of 1,000. Fully vaccinated patients account for just 0.5 percent of all COVID-19 hospitalizations in San Francisco.

San Jose Vice Mayor Chappie Jones said he favors the county’s new mask mandate. He noted that as the Delta variant spreads, every precaution is needed.

“I am supportive of any mask mandates and recommendations that are going to reduce or prevent the spread of COVID,” Jones said.

Jones said he anticipates some pushback, but he said public compliance with previous mask mandates in the Bay Area and Santa Clara County is encouraging.

“You see a lot more mask compliance here than you do in other places,” he said.

Derrick Seaver, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Organization, said it’s hard to tell how much this specific mandate will impact local businesses, many which are still struggling. He said there is a fear mask mandates might have “a chilling effect” on customers who frequent small businesses that are still struggling to recover.

“We are still seeing a very uneven recovery,” Seaver said. “Some of our small business members are still at  25% to 50% of pre-pandemic revenue.”

Eric Johnson, co-owner of Recycle Bookstore near downtown, said his store started mandating masks a couple of weeks ago — even without the new mandate.

“We ordered a few masks to sell to people because they got used to not wearing masks for a short while,” Johnson said. “But it’s not that big of a change. We’re a bookstore, so most of the people who come in are fairly reasonable human beings. The only thing that has happened is that we’ve had a visit by a few anti-maskers during so-called civil disobedience.”

As of Friday, 123,404 Santa Clara County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 1,709 have died.

The county revised its death count earlier this month, reducing the number of total fatalities by 22 percent. About 84% of residents in Santa Clara County age 12+ have received at least one dose of the vaccine and about 78% of residents are fully vaccinated, data shows.

Health officials cautioned that previous projections about achieving herd immunity once 70% to 80% of the population is vaccinated underestimated the real threshold.

“Unfortunately, the Delta virus has taught us that those levels are far from sufficient,” said Chris Farnitano, a health official with Contra Costa County. “We have communities that have vaccination rates that well exceed that, but the virus is spreading, and spreading rapidly.”

Santa Clara County has one of the highest rates of vaccination in California, but new infections are increasing. In early July, the rolling seven-day average for positive infections stood at 31. As of July 30, the weekly rolling average was at 202.

The county has been offering various incentives—including meeting professional athletes and gift cards—to persuade people to get vaccines. It also recently required all of its employees to be vaccinated.

Your donations will determine what we can cover in 2021 and how many journalists we can hire. Can we count on you to make a tax-deductible donation today?

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

We’re changing the face of journalism by providing an innovative model for delivering independent news to the nation’s 10th largest city.

Agreed. Like using a chain link fence to stop mosquitos.

These tyrants will never give up.

There is no reason a fully vaccinated person needs a mask. If someone doesn’t want to get a virus, stay away from people. Masks are used only to signal and conform.

74% of the ones made sick in the recent Provincetown outbreak of Delta were vaccinated and hospitalized with significant symptoms. So there is the SCIENTIFIC reason for masking along with vaccines. The Delta Variant is not protected by the vaccines. The only thing that that cluster had was no masking and no distancing.

But go ahead and make everyone else less safe!!!

That’s funny cause most the patient’s with Covid in the hospital are all vaccinated.

That is false. Regardless, I don’t intend to wear a mask ever again.

No, most people with COVID in the hospital are UNvaccinated.

74% of the ones made sick in the recent Provincetown outbreak of Delta were vaccinated and hospitalized with significant symptoms. So there is the SCIENTIFIC reason for masking along with vaccines. The Delta Variant is not protected by the vaccines. The only thing that that cluster had was no masking and no distancing.

But go ahead and make everyone else less safe!!!

Not exactly. Approximately 74% tested positive, not hospitalized or “sick.” The vaccine DOES protect against delta in that it lessens greatly the chances of hospitalization and death; facts that are supported by data. Again, if one doesn’t want to get sick, stay away from people.

“Not exactly. Approximately 74% tested positive, NOT HOSPITALIZED OR “SICK.” The vaccine DOES protect against delta in that it lessens greatly the chances of hospitalization and death; facts that are supported by data. Again, if one doesn’t want to get sick, stay away from people.”

BUT YOU ARE INCORRECT, THE ONLY PEOPLE TESTED FOR COVID WERE THE HOSPITALIZED, THUS YOUR WORD “NOT HOSPITALIZED OR “SICK.” WAS A DISHONEST OR VERY POORLY UNDERSTOOD CLAIM, PLEASE READ (https://www.wcvb.com/article/cdc-analysis-shows-74-of-provincetown-cases-occurred-in-vaccinated-individuals/37182364#)

New data released about the spread of COVID-19 by the CDC on Friday shows that the coronavirus outbreak among vaccinated individuals in Provincetown, Massachusetts, played a significant role in new guidance from the federal agency.

In recommending that vaccinated people resume wearing masks indoors in virus hot spots, the CDC this week said that new evidence shows that breakthrough infections may be as transmissible as those in unvaccinated people.

The CDC report cited the large recent outbreak among vaccinated individuals in Provincetown, among others, for the change.

In July 2021, following multiple large public events in Provincetown, 469 COVID-19 cases were identified among Massachusetts residents who had traveled to the town during July 3–17; 346 of the cases, or 74%, occurred in fully vaccinated persons, the CDC report says.

Testing identified the delta variant in 90% of specimens from 133 patients, the report says.

Earlier this week, the CDC changed its masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the delta variant of the coronavirus is fueling surges in new cases.

The CDC says their investigation shows the delta variant of COVID-19 causes high viral loads in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

“High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with delta can transmit the virus,” the CDC says. “This finding is concerning and was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC’s updated mask recommendation.”

The CDC said the investigation and published report were a collaboration between the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the CDC. “I am grateful to the commonwealth for their collaboration and rigorous investigation. I would also like to humbly thank the residents of Barnstable County who leaned in to assist with the investigation through their swift participation in interviews by contact tracers, willingness to provide samples for testing, and adherence to safety protocols following notification of exposure,” the CDC wrote.”

THERE WAS NO PROACTIVE TESTING DONE, NO ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING DONE, ONLY TESTING OF THOSE THAT REPORTED SYMPTOMS AND WERE ACTUALLY IN THE HOSPITAL WERE TESTED. YOU ARE SO BEING MISLEADING HERE.

Santa Clara County has a 7-day average of ZERO COVID deaths. ZERO. Can they link any outbreaks that resulted in hospitalizations to gyms, or groups indoors? It’s not people “being compliant” with wearing a mask, it’s people being afraid because of the persistent fear mongering and poor leadership. This is not an evidence based move at all.

I suspect you did not pay attention to what the article is saying – Santa Clara County did not have data on the percentage of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 who are vaccinated.

I have been keeping track of the numbers (based on Johns Hopkins) database for weeks now. Although I have not singled-out CA, the percentage of people who have contracted the virus has remained steady at 10% for the entire U.S. That’s 90% of the U.S. population that has NOT contracted the virus. Deaths have held steady at .18% (.0018) for the entire country. These numbers are available for all on JH website. I get population figure from Worldometer. Anyone can crunch the numbers for themselves any time.

Before you all make so many unfounded comments you should read “The Premonition: A Pandemic Storyby Michael Lewis, Adenrele Ojo, et al.

This investigation into the pandemic will force you to leanr how wrong your claims regarding COVID have been.

I thought Biden was going to swoop in and eradicate COVID, you know, since it was all Trump and the Republicans’ fault…?

What’s his excuse now? Oh right – redirect blame to the anti-vaxxers.

Democrats – it’s all the President’s fault…except when a Democrat is in office.

It is not unlikely that the variations in infection rates, hospitalizations, and deaths have been a little more than the natural perturbations of the viral cycles. It is possible that neither the vaccines, masks, nor social distancing had anything to do with the cycles or significantly mitigating the infection rates.

One thing is for certain, neither the CDC nor our local officials have a clue. They may be just riding the inverse wave of correlation does not represent causation.

WHAT EDUCATION OR SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE DO YOU HAVE TO PROVE ANY OF WHAT YOU JUST SAID? AT LEAST I HAVE A COLLEGE DEGREE IN LIFE SCIENCES, BUT I ALSO WORKED AS A RESEARCH ASSISTANT FOR THE BOSTON UNIVERSITY MICROBIOLOGY LABORATORY AS A TECHNICIAN. THE FACTS ARE COVID IS A MOVING TARGET, AND THE SCIENTISTS HAVEN’T EVEN DONE ANY WORK ON A PRODUCTION LEVEL VACCINE. THESE VACCINES, EVEN THE ONE I TOOK, ARE PROTOTYPES, THEY WERE NEVER INTENDED TO BECOME FULL PRODUCTION. THIS IS WHY THE CDC NOR THE FDA IS GIVING ANY OF THESE ANY INDICATION OF BECOMING APPROVED. ONLY GIVEN EMERGENCY USE AUTHORIZATION.

REAL SCIENTISTS HAVE BEEN VERY QUIET ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE NEXT GENERATION OF THE COVID VACCINE IS NOT EVEN BEING WORKED ON. THE ONE THAT WOULD IMPROVE THE EFFICACY OF THE ORIGINAL AND BE POWERFUL AGAINST VARIANTS. THIS WAS THE LIMITATION OF THE MRNA VACCINE PLAN, IT CAN ONLY WORK FOR THE PROTEIN STRUCTURES ON THE KNOWN ALPHA VARIANT ON THE PHOSPHOLIPID BILAYER OF THE VIRUS.

THE FACT THAT IT ALSO DOES NOT CREATE T-MEMORY CELLS NEEDED FOR PERMANENT INOCULATION FROM THE VIRUS IS ALSO A SCIENTIFIC LIMITATION OF THE APPROACH. AND NO ONE, IS TALKING ABOUT IT. BEING A REGISTERED INDEPENDENT, I FIND FAULT WITH BOUT PARTIES REGARDING IT.

THIS IS WHY I SUSPECT WE WILL FIND OURSELVES IN A SERIOUS TROUBLE AGAIN SOON. THE FACT THAT THE INFECTION CONTROLS ARE INCREASING AGAIN, AND THAT MASKS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING ARE PROVING TO BE THE ONLY CONTROL OF INFECTION AND NOT THE VACCINES, IS TROUBLING. DON’T YOU THINK?

Your email address will not be published.

We’re changing the face of journalism by providing an innovative model for delivering independent news to the nation’s 10th largest city.

Now in the App Store and Google Play

San José residents deserve a trusted source for unbiased, independent political news. And we’re here to provide it.

San José Spotlight is the city’s first nonprofit, community-supported digital news organization. We’re changing the face of journalism by providing an innovative model for delivering reliable, truthful news to the nation’s 10th largest city. We’re partnering with you – the readers – to make it happen. This is your newsroom.

Louisiana and San Francisco Area to Reinstate Indoor Mask Mandates

SFGate 02 August, 2021 - 12:26pm

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged all people in counties with high or substantial transmission of the virus to wear masks in indoor public settings. That announcement came as health officials said they had found vaccinated people can transmit the more contagious Delta variant, which is driving much of the recent increase in Covid-19 cases.

“It’s important that this mask mandate be for vaccinated as well as unvaccinated individuals because we’re facing a much more aggressive and contagious opponent right now known as the Delta variant,” said Dr. Sundari Mase, health officer for Sonoma County, north of San Francisco.

Masks will be required starting Tuesday in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties, along with the city of Berkeley. Los Angeles and Sacramento counties have already imposed similar mask mandates. Once the Bay Area mask orders go into effect, about half of Californians will be required to wear face coverings indoors in public settings.

In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards reinstated a statewide indoor mask mandate effective Wednesday for all people 5 years or older. The mandate will last until Sept. 1 if necessary, he said at a news conference.

You will be charged $ + tax (if applicable) for The Wall Street Journal. You may change your billing preferences at any time in the Customer Center or call Customer Service. You will be notified in advance of any changes in rate or terms. You may cancel your subscription at anytime by calling Customer Service.

Please click confirm to resume now.

Health Stories