California is extending the indoor mask mandate another month.
The new mandate extentionThe new mandate extension comes as the omicron variant continues to spread in high numbers, which has led to concerns about strains on the hospital system.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, California's top health official, said the mandate would be extended through Feb. 15, which ha d originally been set to be reevaluated on Jan. 15. Some counties, including Yolo and Sacramento, already had local indoor mask mandates in place. “Omicron is here and it’s here now,” Ghaly said Wednesday on a conference call with reporters. Ghaly is urging citizens to get vaccinated if they have not already and to keep up with additional shots and boosters, as well as to continue wearing masks whenever they can.
People are also being asked to avoid flooding hospitals and emergency rooms if they are experiencing mild symptoms, and instead to contact their local testing centers first. The mandate’s Feb. 15 end date will be reevaluated closer to that day, based on conditions across California, as well as hospitalization rates.