Santa Clara County, the last remaining county in the state with an indoor masking mandate for vaccinated individuals, took one step closer to lifting the order today, but stopped short of announcing it definitely will occur.
“Our COVID-19 hospitalizations are low and stable, and today we have met the new-case metric as well. These data are very encouraging, and I anticipate that our steady downward trend in cases will continue,” Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said today.
One more week and the masks might come off. “We are on track,” Cody said at a midday press conference.
“ If this continues, we will be able to safely transition from a requirement for indoor masking to a strong recommendation on March 2” to lift the mandate.
Cody defended “sticking to our metrics,” as the safest course in the face of declining numbers of Covid-19 in the county.
She said she is confident that her approach has helped to ensure that “everyone in our community is protected –the elderly, young children, essential workers, and those who are immunocompromised – as our community transmission settles down.”
Cody said state indoor masking requirements would still apply for unvaccinated individuals and in schools and other settings regardless of vaccination status.
Also today, San José Mayor Sam Liccardo announced a proposal to change the booster mandate for public entry on all city-owned facilities, including the SAP Center, Convention Center, and historic theaters, in response to the recent decline of Omicron variant COVID-19 cases.
Liccardo proposed an end to the current booster mandate for the public entering city-owned facilities, while continuing existing testing requirements in compliance with state law.
“The booster mandate served its purpose during the Omicron surge, by encouraging attendees and visitors in public buildings to protect themselves and each other during the period when our ICU’s faced the greatest stress of rising hospitalizations,” he said in a statement. “ While this surge has run its course, we must remain vigilant about the next one.”
The county Public Health Department announced today that the seven-day rolling average for new Covid-19 cases was 501, the first day at 550 cases or lower since updated criteria for modifying the county’s universal indoor masking mandate were announced.
Cody said that if the seven-day rolling average of new daily cases remains at or below 550 for 7 consecutive days, the indoor masking requirement would no longer be mandatory beginning March 2.
State health officials will keep in place universal indoor masking regardless of vaccination status in many settings, including all K-12 schools, childcare facilities, public transit, healthcare facilities, shelters, jails, and long-term care facilities.
As previously announced, the three metrics that need to be met to transition the county’s universal indoor masking requirement to a recommendation are:
- At least 80% of the County population is vaccinated;
- COVID-19 hospitalizations in the jurisdiction are low and stable in the judgment of the Public Health Officer; and,
- The 7-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases is 550 or lower for at least 7 consecutive days.
The county previously met the requirement of at least 80% of the entire population being vaccinated. Cody also confirmed the metric for Covid-19 hospitalizations in the jurisdiction has been met.