The California Department of Public Health aligned with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday and is recommending universal masking indoors for all people, regardless of vaccination status.
Citing surging case rates associated with the Delta variant, CDPH is asking all Californians to start masking indoors again as an “extra precautionary measure” to slow the spread of disease, according to a statement.
The update guidance is a recommendation, not a mandate.
“The Delta variant has caused a sharp increase in hospitalizations and case rates across the state,” Dr. Tomas J. Aragon, CDPH director and state public health officer, said in a statement. “We are recommending masking in indoor public places to slow the spread while we continue efforts to get more Californians vaccinated.”
Not much will change in Santa Barbara County as a result of the CDPH guidance, as the county’s Public Health Department announced more than a week ago that it was now recommending indoor masking for both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents.
On Wednesday, the department reported 74 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths. Officials reported 15 new cases in Santa Maria, 14 new cases in Lompoc and the nearby communities of Mission Hills and Vandenberg Village, and 13 new cases in Santa Barbara and the unincorporated area of Mission Canyon.
Eight new infections were reported in Orcutt and in Isla Vista, and four new cases were reported in both Goletta and the unincorporated area of the Goleta Valley and Gaviota. In the Santa Ynez Valley, three new infections were reported.
And one new case was reported in the South Coast unincorporated areas of Summerland, Montecito and the city of Carpinteria and in the North County unincorporated areas of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama and New Cuyama and the city of Guadalupe.
Three cases were pending on Wednesday.
The county’s active case rate is currently 366 infections. Santa Barbara currently has the highest rate of active infections at 70, followed by Lompoc with 65 and Santa Maria with 59.
As of data from Tuesday, 61.5% of eligible county residents ages 12 and older are fully vaccinated, and 69.6% of that population is partially vaccinated. Of the entire county population, 52% of people are fully vaccinated.