Today, health officials announced that Alameda County will again align with California’s face masking guidance and rescind the local Health Officer Order requiring masks in most indoor public settings, effective 12:01 a.m. on June 25, 2022. The Alameda County Health Officer closely monitored local COVID-19 trends while the masking Order was in place and has determined that it can be lifted given current conditions. The State and Alameda County continue to strongly recommend masking indoors.
Daily reported COVID-19 cases have peaked and continue to decline, and case rates are improving across each of the County’s largest racial and ethnic groups, including Hispanic/Latino residents who were once again disproportionately affected. Local wastewater data, which provides information about the amount of COVID-19 circulating in the community even when reported case information is incomplete, supports these trends. While the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 remains elevated, daily new hospital admissions of patients with COVID-19 have stabilized. Yesterday, Alameda County moved from CDC’s “High” (Orange) COVID-19 Community Level to “Moderate” (Yellow).
Despite these improvements, residents should anticipate substantial ongoing impacts from COVID-19 after the order is lifted. Indoor masking continues to be required by the State for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in health care settings; congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters; and long-term care facilities.
The masking Order was put in place to increase mask wearing in indoor settings, bring an earlier and lower peak to the spring wave, reduce impacts of severe disease and increase protection for those at greatest risk of poor health outcomes, consistent with Alameda County’s strategy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Order was based on extensive scientific literature showing that masks prevent COVID-19 infection and transmission, and that increased masking in community settings is associated with decreased COVID-19 spread.
COVID-19 spreads through the air, and residents should continue to mask in indoor settings to reduce their risk of infection. Wearing a high-quality, well-fitting mask protects the wearer, as well as those around them. Children under age 2 should not mask.
Businesses, venue operators, and hosts may choose to continue requiring patrons and workers to wear masks to lower COVID-19 risk in their settings.
Alameda County is also aligning with the State’s quarantine guidance and definition of close contact, effective 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, June 29, 2022. People who are close contacts but don’t have symptoms should test within 3-5 days after last exposure and wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings and when near those at higher risk for severe COVID-19 disease. Anyone who develops symptoms should test immediately and stay home. Anyone who tests positive must follow isolation requirements.
Work exclusion or quarantine continues to be required for some exposed workers and residents in high-risk settings, and recommended for others. Aligning with the State’s quarantine guidance will not present a public health risk as most Alameda County residents are exempt from current County quarantine requirements due to vaccination status. Alignment with the State will provide clarity for workplaces, which can now look to Cal/OSHA for guidance without also considering differing local rules.
In addition to masking, testing if symptomatic or exposed, and staying home if sick or positive, residents are reminded to stay up to date on vaccinations and keep gatherings small and outdoors or increase ventilation if gathering indoors to limit the impacts of COVID-19.
Treatment is available if you test positive for COVID, have mild or moderate symptoms, and are at high risk for severe disease. Talk to your health care provider about treatment options. If support is needed to understand treatment options or find out if treatment is right for you, please call Alameda County’s COVID line: 510-268-2101.
Vaccination continues to provide the best long-term protection against serious COVID-19 disease. Everyone 6 months and older is now eligible for safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines. The best place for families to get their 6-month to 4-year-old children vaccinated is their healthcare provider’s office. If you are not vaccinated or boosted, we strongly urge you to get up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations now. Visit the COVID-19 website for informational resources.