California News

County Lifts Indoor Mask Mandate as Covid-19 Cases Fall

Unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear masks indoors.

— Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—Vaccinated individuals are no longer required to wear masks in some indoor public spaces around Santa Cruz County after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday morning moved the county into a lower tier within its community transmission tracker.

Santa Cruz County over the past seven days saw 121 residents test positive for Covid-19, a major decrease from just a few weeks ago when some 275 people were identified with the disease over a seven-day period. The lower case count allowed the county to move into the yellow “moderate” tier, the third-least restrictive notch of the CDC’s four-tier system.

Wednesday’s move does not impact face covering requirements issued by the State of California. That means people who are unvaccinated against Covid-19 must continue wearing masks while indoors in public spaces, and schools, businesses, venues and organizations can continue requiring masks. Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must also wear masks while using public transportation and visiting healthcare facilities and congregate shelters.

“Face coverings and vaccinations continue to be the best way to stop the spread of Covid-19 and protect yourself and loved ones from infection,” County spokesperson Jason Hoppin said in a press release. “It is strongly recommended that face coverings continue to be worn in all indoor spaces.”

Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel reissued her mask order on Aug. 20, as the number of people contracting Covid-19 grew.

According to the latest data available on the county dashboard, there were at least 471 residents testing positive for Covid-19 as of Monday. However, State data shows that the county’s test positivity rate over a seven-day period had fallen to 1.2%—it was at 4.6% when Newel reinstated her mask order in August.

The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 in the county has also fallen since mid-September when some 22 residents were in local hospitals with the disease. The latest State data shows that 12 people were currently hospitalized with Covid-19, including two that were in the ICU.


For information about Covid-19 vaccinations and a list of vaccine providers, including local pop-up clinics, visit santacruzhealth.org/coronavirusvaccine

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