County to follow new CDC guidance in recommending wearing masks indoors

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego County officials announced Tuesday the county will follow the latest CDC guidance in recommending the wearing of masks indoors by both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

The news comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course Tuesday and recommended mask-wearing indoors for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in areas experiencing “high” or “substantial” COVID-19 transmission. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the change, saying the Delta variant “behaves uniquely different from past strains of the virus that cause COVID-19.”

San Diego County is among those counties in the U.S. currently listed by the CDC as having “high” transmission rates.

After the CDC’s announcement earlier this afternoon, Supervisor Nora Vargas said the health department was in the process of figuring out what the next steps were for San Diego.

Vargas insisted that she thinks it’s important to remind everybody that “this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” so getting those people vaccinated is very important.

The county said new research shows the Delta variant is likely to cause a spike in COVID-19 cases among vaccinated people, though primarily targeting unvaccinated. Vargas is urging residents to get the shot to stop the surge.

“We can have all the conversations we want about people using their masks, you know, following the CDC guidelines, but the truth is we need people to get vaccinated who are not vaccinated,” she said.

Earlier this month, Los Angeles County implemented a mask-wearing mandate in indoor public settings for everyone, citing spiking cases attributed to spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19. It was not immediately clear if other local counties will impose similar mandates now that the CDC is recommending indoor mask-wearing for all.

Mask-wearing has remained a requirement indoors across California for unvaccinated people. However, enforcement of the requirement was based largely on the honor system, making it uncertain if unvaccinated residents were abiding by the rule.

The California Department of Public Health tells FOX 5 it is doing a full review of the latest CDC guidelines to determine the next steps for Californians. But the local mask choice advocacy group Let Them Breathe says the science doesn’t support masking kids, and that they’ll continue to fight for mask choice in schools.

“A lot of parents got their children vaccinated for the purpose of taking off their mask and now that that has been taken away we kind of see that the goal posts are going to continue to be moved” said Nicole Rieck of Let Them Breathe.

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