The California Department of Public Health has ordered a mask mandate for all individuals in indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status.
The mandate comes as the rate of COVID-19 cases have been increasing over the last serveral weeks. Thanksgiving, the statewide seven-day average case rate has increased by 47 percent and hospitalizations have increased by 14 percent.
In addition to the increase in case rates, the mandate is an effort to slow the spread of both Delta and the highly transmissible Omicron variant, according to the CDPH.
As of Wednesday, the CDPH requires masks be worn in all indoor public settings irrespective of vaccine status through January 15, 2022, at which point California will make further recommendations as needed in response to the ongoing pandemic.
The CDPH also updated requirements for large events, like concerts and sports games. Prior to attending an event, attendees will now require either proof of vaccination, a negative antigen COVID-19 test within one day of the event, or a negative PCR test within two days of the event.
Additionally, it’s recommended that all travelers arriving in California test for COVID-19 within three to five days after arrival, regardless of their vaccination status.
“Our collective actions can save lives this holiday season. We are already seeing a higher level of transmission this winter and it is important to act now to prevent overwhelming our busy hospitals so we can provide quality health care to all Californians,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. “All Californians should get vaccinated and receive their booster. Getting your whole family up to date on vaccination is the most important action you can take to get through the pandemic and to protect yourself from serious impacts from the virus and its variants. Testing and masking remain important tools in slowing the spread.”
The CDPH reports that the majority of hospitalizations and deaths are occuring among those individuals who remain unvaccinated. Unvaccinated people were 7.1 times more likely to get COVID-19 and were 12.5 times more likely to be hospitalized and 13 times more likely to die from the virus, according to the CDPH.