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COVID is on the rise again. Why the San Francisco Bay Area hasn’t implemented mandates.

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, county health officers across the San Francisco Bay Area issued a statement Friday, recommending that people take safety precautions including wearing masks in indoor public places, testing and keeping up with vaccinations.Health officers issued the recommendation as opposed to a mandate (as they have done in past surges) because while…

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, county health officers across the San Francisco Bay Area issued a statement Friday, recommending that people take safety precautions including wearing masks in indoor public places, testing and keeping up with vaccinations.

Health officials issued the recommendation, not a mandate (as in previous surges), because although cases are on the rise, hospitalizations are still relatively low. Because of immunity to past infections and vaccinations, the region is more protected than ever from serious illness or death.

” I think we are recognizing that there is something in between a mandat and a world where everyone covers their faces,” Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County Health Officer told SFGATE about the guidance. “Our hope is that we can find a middle ground, where people recognize the importance of covering their faces. The Bay Area is clearly seeing a surge in COVID activity, and people need to recognize that and take that into account when they’re out and about, and a mask is a helpful way to prevent infection.”

” People at high risk for severe illness or in close contact should be extra vigilant as we go through this current surge in cases,” Dr. Susan Philip, San Francisco Health Officer, said in a press release.

All counties in San Francisco Bay Area, except Solano, endorsed the recommendation.

Willis said that people who want to avoid infection should wear a higher quality mask such as a N95 and KN95 rather than a cloth face covering.

” Residents at highest risk of serious infection should be aware that if they visit a public area right now, it’s likely someone is infected.” Willis stated.

COVID-19 cases have been increasing in California since early April, and the greater San Francisco Bay Area is reporting more new cases per day than most other areas in the state. San Francisco’s seven-day average went from 79 new cases a day on March 13 to 343 new cases a day on May 5. At the January peak, the city was reporting an average of 2,377 cases a day.

Willis pointed out that the actual number of cases is higher than reported, since many people use home tests.

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