Novel Coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) (CDC Image)

MONTEREY COUNTY — Monterey County’s health officer is joining 10 other officials from the Bay Area in stressing the importance of taking safety precautions, such as masking indoors, as the region experiences a new surge of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations.

The Bay Area now has California’s highest Covid infection rates, with the current wave being fueled by highly contagious Omicron subvariants. Bay Area counties, including Monterey, are seeing increases in reported cases, levels of virus in sewer sheds and hospitalizations.

According to health officials, actual case rates are higher than those reported because of widespread use of home tests. Bay Area health officers are continuing to express support for residents to mask up indoors, keep tests handy and ensure they are up to date on vaccinations by getting boosters when eligible.

“As the number of Covid-19 cases increase in Monterey County, masking indoors adds another layer of protection against exposure and infection,” said Dr. Edward Moreno, Monterey County Health Officer and Director of Public Health.

The grim milestone of 1 million deaths from Covid in the United States “underscores the need for continued vigilance against the virus,” according to a statement endorsed by health officers from the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma as well as the City of Berkeley on May 13.

Although not required, masking is strongly recommended by the California Department of Public Health for most public indoor settings, and health officials say wearing higher-quality masks (N95/KN95 or snug-fitting surgical masks) indoors can better help residents protect their health.

Vaccines remain the best protection against severe disease and death from Covid.

Residents should also stay home if they feel sick and get tested right away, health officials say. They also encourage getting tested after potential exposure and limiting large gatherings to well-ventilated spaces or outdoors. 

“For people who are more likely to get very sick from Covid-19 infection, medications are available that can reduce your chances of severe illness and death,” the statement concluded. “Talk with your healthcare provider right away if you test positive.”

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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