Sacramento County Adds Indoor Mask Mandate: Are More Restrictions Looming?
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Sacramento County is the latest county to issue an indoor mask mandate, joining Yolo County only days later. Some people feel new restrictions may be on the way.
The deja vu feeling comes as the Delta variant runs rampant, and vaccinations stay stagnant.
“It’s kind of inevitable. If you don’t get a certain amount of people vaccinated – this is how it works,” said Tanner Mixon, who spent the afternoon at the park with his kids and enjoying a break from his shifts at the hospital.
“We are starting to see numbers creep back up because of the Delta variant,” Mixon added.
Health officials say the Delta strain’s stronghold makes up 80% of the state’s new COVID cases. Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye says Delta is dominant here, too.
“The last number of reports we’ve got — all of them were the Delta variant,” Dr. Kasirye said.
For many people, things are starting to look and feel like last year.
Data shows the daily case rate in Sacramento County, for example, is 22.6 per 100,000 people. That’s higher than last year’s 15.4. Placer County is nearly identical to last year’s case rate. But Stanislaus County, sitting at 13.7/100,000 is significantly less than 32.7 in 2020.
This new chapter of the pandemic is testing people’s patience – with many who just want to move on.
“It’s not too much of a concern – I just want things to go back to normal,” said Daniel, who was visiting Sacramento from Southern California.
Still, cases are climbing in populations big and small. Across the state, more than thirty counties would be in California’s widespread and most restrictive purple tier if it still existed. That includes almost every county across the Greater Sacramento region, which means they would be facing closures.
“I think there’s going to be another spike,” said Phil Cunningham, who’s wondering what events he can plan for. “In fact – we have a fundraiser scheduled mid-August. And we’re wrestling right now with – what do we do?”
When it comes to future restrictions, Dr. Kasirye says that’s not in the plans because this year, we have a vaccine. But when many continue to refuse it, there’s a collective feeling of frustration among the vaccinated.
“I’m very discouraged about the fact we’re not getting through this pandemic the way we were hoping,” said Merete Glick.
Dr. Kasirye said vaccines are our main way out, and says the current mask mandate helps avoid future mutations to add more protections for everyone – including those who don’t have the shot.
As for when the mandate may be lifted, Dr. Kasirye did not list a specific metric – only when there’s low to moderate transmission of the virus.