Return to masking? It's possible, if we see COVID surge this fall, Bay Area health officials say

"In recent weeks, we've been seeing 25 cases per day, that's now crept up to 30 cases per day," said Dr. Willis.

ByCornell W. Barnard KGO logo
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Masking could return if we see COVID surge this fall: Officials
Return to masking? San Francisco Bay Area health officials say it's possible if we see COVID-19 surge this fall.

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- In the North Bay, one county's health officials are sounding the alarm that a new wave of COVID-19 cases may not be far off.

Marin County's Public Health Director Dr. Matt Willis urges everyone eligible to get boosted and says the fall surge means masks could make a return in schools and indoor public spaces.

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"In recent weeks, we've been seeing 25 cases per day, that's now crept up to 30 cases per day," said Dr. Willis.

Dr. Willis says he's concerned about the rise in local cases and hospitalizations, he believes the number will continue to rise with increased case rates in the Northeast and in Europe. He says your best defense is the new bivalent booster shot.

"We are going to see more cases and the best way to protect yourself is the new booster available," said Dr. Willis.

But the number of people receiving the new booster remains low, only 8.6 percent across the Bay Area.

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Because so many residents in Los Angeles County have dealt with COVID-19 infections, many now view the virus like a common cold or flu. However, new research suggests that's far from the truth.

"Flu season and COVID, they say it's even harder on the elderly," said Susi Banuells.

Banuells was worried about COVID coming around again. She says, for now, eating outside at restaurants like Lavier, is her only option.

Restaurant manager Sebastian Vertiz says he expected a another COVID surge and his sidewalk parklet isn't going anywhere.

"We want to upgrade outdoor seating, not take it out," Vertiz said.

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Marin County Office of Education Assistant Superintendent Mike Grant says if another COVID wave happens, the goal will be to keep kids in class, while urging those who are sick to stay home. The return of masking is possible.

"Masking has been a personal preference at low transmission, if it goes to medium, masks are recommended, high means highly recommended masking," said Grant.

Dr. Willis says the sixth COVID surge could also see the return of facemasks at indoor public spaces.

"We will be watching this and offering recommendations as things go," said Willis.

CDC COVID-19 Transmission Categories by California County

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