Mask

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Big increases in the recent number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have prompted county health officials to implement a health order requiring masks in all public indoor places without exceptions for certain indoor settings.

Big increases in the recent number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have prompted county health officials to implement a health order requiring masks in all public indoor places without exceptions for certain indoor settings.

Previously, fully vaccinated public speakers and performers, and fully vaccinated groups of 100 or fewer people were allowed to remove their face coverings under controlled conditions.

The new order requires all people in Contra Costa, regardless of vaccination status, to mask in public indoor settings.

The first case of the omicron variant was first identified in the county on Dec. 18, and since then case rates and hospitalizations have significantly increased, county officials said. The average number of daily new COVID-19 cases has increased 149% over the last week and hospitalizations have risen 31%.

Many other Bay Area counties already require everyone to mask in all indoor public settings, county officials said.

“The Omicron variant is very contagious, and we now know that anyone, regardless of vaccination status, can spread this variant to other people,” said Dr. Ori Tzvieli, Contra Costa County deputy health officer. “We anticipate the case rate and hospitalization numbers to increase over the coming weeks. To reduce spread, cases and hospitalizations, we all need to wear masks anytime we are in an indoor public setting.”

Because cases and hospitalizations involve both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people, county health officials urge everyone to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as they are able.

COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses, continue to offer the most effective protection against hospitalization and death from all variants of COVID-19 circulating in the county, officials said.

Visit coronavirus.cchealth.org/get-vaccinated for information on healthcare providers, pharmacies and clinics offering COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots. No-cost vaccinations and boosters are also available through county public clinics by calling 1-833-829-2626

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