San Diego County is adopting the California Department of Public Health's latest masking guidance and will stop requiring fully-vaccinated people to wear masks in most indoor settings.
"People who are not fully vaccinated are more likely to become infected compared to people who have received all the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including the booster,” County public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said. "The vaccines are the best protection there is to prevent people from getting seriously ill, ending in the hospital or, worse, dying."
After Feb. 15, unvaccinated people still will be required to be masked indoors, and everyone — vaccinated or not — will have to wear masks in higher-risk areas like public transit and nursing homes and other congregate living facilities, officials said.
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State officials also announced that Indoor “mega events” with more than 1,000 people will have to require vaccinations or negative tests for those attending and those who are unvaccinated will be required to wear masks. For outdoor events with more than 10,000 people, there is no vaccination requirement but masks or negative tests are recommended.
Those thresholds increase from the current 500 attendees for indoor and 5,000 attendees for outdoor events. The increased threshold comes after Sunday's Super Bowl that will draw as many as 100,000 football fans to SoFi Stadium outside Los Angeles.
With coronavirus cases falling fast, California also is lifting a requirement that people produce a negative coronavirus test before visiting hospitals and nursing homes, effective immediately.
San Diego County didn't specify new local guidance for mega events or hospital and nursing home visits, but said it follows recommendations from the CDPH.
Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration brought back the masking mandate in mid-December as omicron gained momentum and last month extended the requirement through Feb. 15. California passed 80,000 pandemic deaths and 8 million confirmed positive cases last week but new cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions all continued falling Monday and are projected to keep decliningat a rapid clip.
Before resuming the masking requirement in December, California had lifted the requirement for people who were vaccinated as of June 15, a date that Newsom had described then as the state’s grand reopening. However, many counties soon reinstituted local mask orders as the summer delta surge took hold.
California health officials said Monday that they are “continuing to work with education, public health and community leaders to update masking requirements at schools to adapt to changing conditions and ensure the safety of kids, teachers, and staff.”