Let’s keep those masks on indoors, folks – and maybe outdoors given the incredibly high transmissibility of this Omicron variant. In the interests of addressing the massive spike in coronavirus cases, particularly to avoid a deluge of hospitalizations, State of California officials extended the indoor mask mandate through February 15

Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly told the Associated Press that additional restrictions are not being considered. “We are and continue to be concerned about our hospitals,” he said. “Some facilities are going to be strapped.”

“Marin County will follow state orders. We will not plan to add exemptions,” Dr. Lisa Santora, the county’s deputy public health officer, told the Marin Independent Journal.

California’s confirmed cases have shot up nearly 500% in the last two weeks and hospitalizations have doubled to more than 8,000, according to state officials. In Marin, which boasts a 93% vaccination rate among the eligible population and a nearly 90% rate among the county’s total population, cases have spiked sharply, but hospitalizations remain manageable, public health officials said.

The countywide daily positive case rate spiked to a high of 412 cases on Dec. 28, the highest daily count since the pandemic started, according to county health data. The previous high of 172 daily cases was set last January.

Over the last seven days, Marin has averaged 313 new COVID-19 cases per day, Dr. Matt Willis, the county’s public health officer, said Tuesday.

Ghaly encouraged unvaccinated people to get inoculated and others to get booster shots if they haven’t already received one to either prevent or lessen the impact of an infection. He said the vaccines and therapeutics to treat COVID-19 are all part of an approach largely absent a year ago and there is no discussion of further restrictions.

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