SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) – Following in the footsteps of neighboring Yolo County, Sacramento County’s public health officer is urging all residents to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.
Unlike Yolo County, however, Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye is recommending residents wear masks indoors only in places where they wouldn’t need to confirm their vaccination status prior to entry.
“For example, in a workplace where employee rules allow for no masking after self-attestation of vaccination status, masks do not need to be worn by those who are vaccinated,” Thursday’s release reads. “But in a public space such as a grocery store or restaurant, masks are strongly recommended, regardless of vaccination status.”
Exactly one month since the state lifted restrictions put in place during the pandemic, Sacramento County’s daily case rate has gone up and less than half of the county is vaccinated.
Sacramento County Health officials are paying attention to Yolo County, which has a greater ability to screen for the delta variant that makes up 76% of the new cases there.
“The numbers are continuing to climb,” Dr. Kasirye said. “The delta variant is more contagious so there is concern that we might see a further increase in our cases.”
If California’s old color-coded tier system was still in place, the latest numbers for Sacramento County would kick it back up to the purple tier, meaning a lot more restrictions would be placed on businesses and residents’ behavior.
Resident Ellie Zellmer never stopped wearing a mask, even after her shots.
“With the variant and everything else that is going on, I’m just being cautious,” Zellmer said.
But others, like Drew Gzell, see yet another change in the COVID-19 rules. Gzell said one of the reasons he got vaccinated was so he could go about his business without wearing a mask, and thinks the new rules will result in fewer vaccinations.
“I understand why people are confused,” Gzell said. “If they’re told it’s going to work and you’ll be fine and you still have to wear the mask, that’s going to disincentivize people from getting it.”
Health officials say vaccines are 80% to 90% effective. It’s also been found that vaccinated people can still carry and spread the variant strains, even though they don’t get sick or show symptoms, which is something that Zellmer is well aware of.
“It’s a small price to pay, just wear the mask,” Zellmer said.
Beyond the new mask recommendation, county health officials say getting more people vaccinated is still the best way to keep everyone safe.