Health officer: Wear your mask, COVID-19 is still with us

close up photo of a man wearing face mask

COVID-19 is still circulating in the community and the county health officer says it’s likely the peak of this most recent wave has yet to pass.

“There’s a lot of COVID around,” said Alameda County Public Health Officer Nicholas Moss. ” … Perhaps as much as we’ve had at any point in the pandemic.”

Moss was speaking to the community advisory group for the county’s Health Care Services Agency at its Tuesday meeting, where many county staff expressed concerns about the amount of COVID-19 circulating in the community. Moss said there haven’t been as many hospitalizations during this wave as prior ones, but that could change.

“This has been a slow grinding wave,” Moss said. “It’s lasted much longer than what happened with omicron in the winter.”

Alameda County has experienced several waves of COVID-19 since it first broke out in the U.S. in early 2020, with the largest wave during the past winter. The most recent wave began in late April, early May, and Moss said wastewater monitoring data indicates the county may be going through the peak right now after experiencing a brief period of stability in mid-June.

The increase, Moss said, is likely because of people returning to their pre-pandemic lifestyles.

Alameda County lifted the requirement to wear a mask indoors on June 24 during a period of stability after implementing the mandate at the start of that month. The county immediately saw an increase in its metrics following that decision, Moss said.

“Indoor masking remains strongly recommended,” Moss said.

COVID-19 cases by city

  • Fremont: 34,521 cases (190 deaths)
  • Hayward: 39,341 cases (291 deaths)
  • Newark: 10,066 cases (46 deaths)
  • Union City: 13,917 cases (88 deaths)
  • Eden area: 17,245 cases (115 deaths)
  • Sunol: 124 cases (less than 10 deaths)

To date, the county has had 319,569 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,932 confirmed deaths related to COVID-19.

Even though people aren’t being required to quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19, Moss said it’s still strongly recommended alongside masking and testing three to five days after exposure.

“We still require isolation of people who have COVID infections in Alameda County,” Moss said. “So once you get sick, you test positive, you have symptoms, you should stay home.”

The guidance for students, however, is that families should be notified of an exposure after it happens, but they don’t need to stay home if they’re not sick.

“The goal is really to avoid disruptions and keep kids in classrooms as much as possible,” Moss said.

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