The county is recommending everyone regardless of vaccination status to mask up when indoors, stopping short of a mask mandate.
“The way to limit our community from dying is really by mandating a mask or by making sure everybody is vaccinated,” said Dr. Will Tseng, the former president of the San Diego County Medical Society.
San Diego County's updated mask guidance follows the push from the San Diego County Medical Society and the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties requesting mask mandates to return indoors regardless of vaccination status. The same group of medical professionals is also calling for COVID-19 vaccination requirements for indoor dining, bars, gyms, and entertainment venues.
“People are tired, our physicians are very tired seeing so many COVID patients and trying to do the best we can and I think this comes from the hopes that we can save more lives and see us win from this virus,” Tseng said.
The latest county data shows hospitalizations for San Diego County residents between the ages of 40 through 59 continue to slowly rise with the median age of hospitalizations now being 54.
"I know more friends now who are sick and dying in hospitals than I did when the pandemic first came around," said San Diego resident Kevin Joelson.
Some are hoping a mask recommendation is enough to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“I'd like to believe that people will choose to do the right thing so I'd like to say they could start with it highly recommended and see if enough people are willing to do it so we can not have to require it," said resident Susan Curtin.
Despite the new recommendation, the San Diego County Medical Society says the clearest policy would be to require masking at all public indoor spaces and require vaccinations for indoor dining, bars, gyms and entertainment venues.