Masks will now be required at these places in Alameda Co. due to rising COVID levels

Luz Pena Image
Saturday, December 10, 2022
Masks will now be required at these places in Alameda County
EMBED <>More Videos

Health officials say that Alameda County has moved up to the CDC's "medium" COVID-19 Community Level, and more high-risk settings will require masks.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- COVID hospitalizations are increasing throughout the state. The last time California had over 4,000 people in the hospital with COVID was in July.

"I think the challenge is that the numbers are rising and we don't know where this peak will plateau," said Dr. Jahan Fahimi, medical director of the Emergency Department at UCSF.

Dr. Jahan Fahimi says their hospital is not stressed yet.

"In many cases, its patients who are hospitalized for something else who also happen to have COVID. It's not necessarily that COVID itself that is causing them to be hospitalized," said Dr. Fahimi.

RELATED: Flu, COVID cases surging in CA; CDC suggests masking indoors to minimize spread

As hospitalizations increase, statewide transmission levels are changing. According to the CDC, the majority of the state is in yellow meaning under the medium COVID -19 community levels of transmission.

"We have seen our numbers sort of subtly increasing since mid-October. Yesterday, we moved from CDC's yellow into CDC medium level," said Dr. Joanna Locke, COVID clinical guidance lead for Alameda County Health Department.

In Alameda County, as of Thursday, the seven-day average case rate is 21 cases per 100,000 residents and 149 people are in the hospital with COVID-19. Now, they are updating their mask requirements.

County health officials say that per California state law, they must now re-implement mask requirements in high-risk settings besides healthcare. These include:

  • Homeless shelters
  • Emergency shelters
  • Heating and cooling centers (staff and residents)
  • Alameda Co. correctional and detention facilities

"We are aligned with the state masking guidance. We have not instituted any new requirements ourselves here in Alameda County, but according to the state when we move into medium certain locations, we need to require masking for staff and residents," said Dr. Locke.

What about the state? In a statement, California's Department of public health states:

"We are empowering Californians to take voluntary actions, including masking in public indoor settings, and getting the flu shot and updated COVID-19 booster, to protect themselves and their families from multiple respiratory viruses circulating in the state. We are not considering a statewide masking mandate at this time. As always, local governments may implement separate and more strict policies."

Despite the increase in hospitalizations, Dr. Locke is hopeful.

"This is certainly something that we anticipated. We are in a much better place now," said Dr. Locke.

RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live