Citing a sharp increase in COVID-19 infection rates since Thanksgiving, the state announced Monday that beginning Dec. 15, mask-wearing will become mandatory in all indoor public settings across California regardless of vaccination status.
Since Thanksgiving, the statewide seven-day average case rate has increased by almost half (47%) and hospitalizations have increased by 14%. In response to the increase in cases and hospitalizations, and to slow the spread of both Delta and the highly transmissible Omicron variant, CDPH has issued updated guidance to curb the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.
Beginning December 15, CDPH will require masks to be worn in all indoor public settings irrespective of vaccine status through January 15, 2022, at which point California will make further recommendations as needed in response to the pandemic.
Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are largely occurring among unvaccinated populations. See the data for unvaccinated and vaccinated cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
Unvaccinated people were 7.1 times more likely to get COVID-19 (data from November 21, 2021, to November 27, 2021 ). Unvaccinated people were 12.5 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 (data from November 14, 2021, to November 20, 2021). Unvaccinated people were 13.0 times more likely to die from COVID-19 (data from November 7, 2021, to November 13, 2021).
Additionally, CDPH updated requirements for attending mega-events, like concerts and sporting events. Before attending an event, attendees will now require either proof of vaccination, a negative antigen COVID-19 test within one day of the event, or a negative PCR test within two days of the event.
CDPH also issued a new travel advisory effective immediately to recommend that all travelers arriving in California test for COVID-19 within three to five days after arrival, regardless of their vaccination status.
“Our collective actions can save lives this holiday season. We are already seeing a higher level of transmission this winter and it is important to act now to prevent overwhelming our busy hospitals so we can provide quality health care to all Californians. All Californians should get vaccinated and receive their booster. Getting your whole family up to date on vaccination is the most important action you can take to get through the pandemic and to protect yourself from serious impacts from the virus and its variants. Testing and masking remain important tools in slowing the spread,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. “Starting Wednesday, California will require masking in all public indoor places during the holiday season regardless of vaccination status.
Attendees of large events will be required to show either proof of vaccination, a negative antigen COVID-19 test within one day of the event, or a negative PCR test within two days of the event. Additionally, California has issued a travel alert to recommend that all travelers get tested within three to five days of their arrival in California. Vaccines and these temporary measures will allow friends and families to safely spend the holidays together and will add critical layers of protection to keep people safe.”