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SAN DIEGO — San Diego residents will have to mask up again when they enter indoor public spaces, regardless of their vaccination status, due to a statewide public health mandate that took effect Wednesday.

California issued the mandate, citing a rise in infection rates since Thanksgiving. It will remain in place until Jan. 15.

The state will also toughen the restriction for unvaccinated people who attend indoor “mega-events” of 1,000 people or more, requiring them to receive a negative COVID test within one day of the event if it’s a rapid antigen test or within two days for a PCR test. The current rules require a test within 72 hours of the event.

State officials will also recommend, but not require, that people who travel to California or return to the state after traveling be tested for COVID within three to five days.

Among the indoor public spaces affected by the mask mandate will be retail stores, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers and government offices that serve the public.

Meanwhile, Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of San Diego County receiving its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines. Since Dec. 14, 2020, more than 5.86 million doses of the three vaccines now available have been administered throughout the region.

Close to 2.72 million San Diego County residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, more than 86% of all eligible residents. More than 2.41 million San Diegans, or close to 77% of eligible residents, are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In addition, more than 528,000 booster shots have been administered in the region.

“San Diego has some of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the nation and our impressive numbers are a testament to the efforts of our community partners, as well as our residents’ commitment to put this pandemic behind us,” said Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, county public health officer. “COVID vaccines are safe and effective at preventing severe illness and deaths and I urge anyone who has not gotten vaccinated, or is overdue for their booster, to get vaccinated now.”

Also Tuesday, the county Health and Human Services Agency reported 610 new COVID-19 infections and four deaths in its latest data. The number of coronavirus patients in San Diego County hospitals increased by 24 people to 354, according to Tuesday’s data. Of those patients, 95 were in intensive care as of Monday, four more than Monday.

A total of 15,500 new tests were reported to the county on Tuesday. A total of 3.9% of all tests returned positive over the past week.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.