Breaking News: California: California Health and Human Services extends indoor statewide mask mandate to Tuesday, February 15th, 2022 amid surging cases of the omicron variant of the COVID-19.

By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews):

Source: Dr. Mark Ghaly with the California Health and Human Services (Information):

California: California Health and Human Services has extended the indoor statewide mask mandate that was set to expire on Saturday, January 15, 2022.

Dr. Mark Ghaly with the California Health and Human Services announced on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022 that California’s indoor mask mandate which went into effect on Wednesday, Wednesday 15th, 2021 has been extended one month, through at least Tuesday, February 15th, 2022 amid surging cases of the omicron variant of the COVID-19.

California’s indoor mask mandate requires that masks be worn in all indoor public settings regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.

“Omicron is here. We can’t abandon the tools that we’ve used to achieve our collective success throughout this pandemic,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly with the California Health and Human Services during a news briefing on Wednesday.

Dr. Mark Ghaly urged Californians to wear a well-fitted mask with a good seal around the mouth and nose with no gaps, as the highly transmissible omicron variant of coronavirus spreads rapidly.

While several counties have already imposed their own mask mandates after California’s “grand reopening” on Tuesday, June 15th, 2021, about half of California’s population live in counties that do not have their own masking requirements.

Before the statewide indoor mask mandate went into effect last month, masking was a recommendation rather than a requirement, except in certain indoor spaces like public transit and schools; and masking was required for unvaccinated workers at high-risk congregate and other health care settings.

Now, face mask coverings are required for everyone in all indoor public settings like gyms, malls, restaurants and stores.

California’s indoor mask mandate end date will be reevaluated closer to that day, based on conditions across California, as well as hospitalization rates.

Dr. Mark Ghaly said that even though California is seeing a rising number of new COVID-19 cases, today’s situation is better in many ways than last year due to the vaccines.

“That said, we are and continue to be concerned about our hospitals. We are concerned about the level of admission,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly with the California Health and Human Services.

At this time in 2021 during the winter surge, hospitalizations statewide in California were beginning to peak at about 53,000 people total, including for conditions other than COVID-19.

As of Wednesday morning, California was approaching 51,000 individuals in the hospital, with just over 8,000 of them being admitted with COVID-19.

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