SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — California announced Wednesday it will extend its current statewide indoor mask mandate until Feb. 15.
This comes a day after California recorded record-breaking numbers of positive COVID-19 rates throughout the state.
California reached a 20% positivity rate — the highest rate since the pandemic began.
The initial statewide mask mandate started on Dec. 15 and was scheduled to end on Jan. 15.
At a teleconference on Wednesday, California’s Secretary of Health and Human Services announced the extension through February 15th at which point they will decide whether to rescind it or extend it again.
“We are looking at where we are with the hospital system if the pressure will continue if we are coming over a hump and seeing things improve and seeing that pressure improve,” Dr. Mark Ghaly said.
While Dr. Mark Ghaly says those vaxed and boosted are unlikely to get severely ill from the omicron variant, California emergency rooms and hospitals are filling up and state officials are concerned.
“This time last year, we were beginning to peak on our total hospitalization at 53,000 total hospitalizations, not just COVID but all hospitalizations, as of this morning we were approaching 51,000 individuals in hospitals,” Dr. Ghaly said.
Of the nearly 51,000 patients in hospitals now, 8,000 are there due to COVID-19, among those more young people.
“The good news is pediatric hospitals and children’s hospitals have been well supported and able to take on the demand and many of the young people although admitted with COVID are not being admitted to the ICU or the PICU, pediatric ICU,” Dr. Ghaly said.
With cases skyrocketing in Los Angeles County, home to next month’s Super Bowl, the NFL is said to be looking at alternate sites just in case but Dr. Ghaly gave no indication the state will put a stop to the game.
“I think Californians are excited to see that event occur and I think the work is to make sure as it is moving forward as planned the mitigation strategies that create safety around that event are in place,” Dr. Ghaly said.
Dr. Ghaly says the state is also pushing forward with in-person learning.
He says no plans to go back online because mitigation measures are in place to keep people safe.
He also wants both young and old to step up their masking saying the old cloth mask alone can no longer do the job.