Los Angeles County is putting its masking mandate back in place because of the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant there, and other California counties have done the same. San Diego County hasn’t yet, but could it?
“We don't anticipate that changing anytime soon, but it always could,” County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said.
Fletcher said county health officials are keeping a close eye on local coronavirus data as other parts of the state and country experience post-reopening case waves.
L.A. County reintroduced mask requirements Thursday, following Sacramento and Yolo counties where requirements were established earlier this week.
The state said on Thursday it supports the ability of public health jurisdictions to make their own calls when it comes to masking mandates. For now, the California Department of Public Health is urging unvaccinated people to get vaccinated.
“I think one of the challenges with this is the individuals who are choosing to not get vaccinated are the same individuals who are going to choose to not wear a mask, and those are the ones who are at risk,” Supervisor Fletcher added.
Coronavirus cases in San Diego are increasing -- after weeks of daily positivity percentages hovering around 1%, that curve has been on a slow but steady incline since June 15 – but the rate of increase doesn’t compare to L.A. County, which is reporting its highest COVID numbers since March.
What also sets the two regions apart is that 80% of San Diego’s eligible population is at least partially vaccinated compared to L.A. County’s 70%. San Diego County is home to about 3.3 million people while more than 10 million reside in L.A.
“In San Diego our numbers are down because we vaccinated a lot of people. That's the bottom line,” Kaiser Permanente Registered Nurse Robyn Sarvis said. “Not because COVID went away, not because it’s less dangerous. The Delta and Lambda variants are out there and here, and the reason older people are not in the hospital is because they’re vaccinated, not because COVID went away.
So far, San Diego County has seen 108 Delta Variant cases, according to records. Of those, 64% have involved people between the ages of 10 and 39 and 99% of those cases involved unvaccinated people.
CDC data shows that fewer than half of those between the ages of 18 and 39 are vaccinated.