Bay Area Health Officers Urge Public to Take Precautions as COVID Levels Rise

Bay Area Health Officers Urge Public to Take Precautions as COVID Levels Rise

Twelve Bay Area health officers are notifying the public to take safety precautions, including continued masking indoors, as the region experiences a new swell of COVID cases and hospitalizations, according to an Alameda County Public Health Department report.

The Bay Area now has California’s highest COVID-19 infection rates. The current wave is fueled by highly contagious Omicron subvariants. Bay Area counties are seeing increases in reported cases, levels of virus in sewer sheds, and hospitalizations. Actual case rates are higher than those reported because of widespread use of home tests.

These health officers reiterate their continued, strong support for people to mask up indoors, keep tests handy, and ensure they are up to date on vaccinations by getting boosters when eligible.

“Daily reported cases in Alameda County have reached levels seen during the Delta wave. If you’ve chosen not to wear a mask indoors recently, now is a good time to start masking again,” said Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss. “Fortunately, cases remain far below what we observed during the Omicron surge, and hospitalizations have shown only modest increases so far. A little caution can help keep it that way.”

Although not required, masking is strongly recommended by the California Department of Public Health for most public indoor settings, and health officials say wearing higher-quality masks (N95/KN95 or snug-fitting surgical masks) indoors is a wise choice that will help people protect their health. Vaccines remain the best protection against severe disease and death from COVID.

Health officials say people should also stay home if they feel sick and get tested right away. Officials also encourage getting tested after potential exposure and limiting large gatherings to well ventilated spaces or outdoors.

For people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 infection, medications are available that can reduce your chances of severe illness and death. Talk with your healthcare provider right away if you test positive or visit https://covid-19.acgov.org/antibody-treatment for more information about eligibility and finding a treatment location near you.

“Wearing a high-quality mask indoors is one of the important layers of protection against the virus,” said Dr. Moss. “Even with new variants, vaccines, masks, and available treatments continue to be effective in preventing the worst impacts of COVID-19.”

The above statement has been endorsed by health officers from the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma as well as the City of Berkeley.