LOS ANGELES - State health officials in California on Wednesday aligned with new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending that everyone wear masks in indoor public settings, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.
"The Delta variant has caused a sharp increase in hospitalizations and case rates across the state," Dr. Tomas J. Aragon, CDPH director and state public health officer, said in a statement. "We are recommending masking in indoor public places to slow the spread while we continue efforts to get more Californians vaccinated."
The announcement by the California Department of Public Health is only a recommendation, not a mandate.
Los Angeles County tightened its public-health order earlier this month, requiring everyone wear masks in indoor public settings whether they've been vaccinated or not. The move came in response to rising COVID infection numbers blamed on the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Mask-wearing is only required indoors in other Southern California counties for non-vaccinated people, but enforcement is primarily limited to a self-attestation honor system.
Under the CDC’s new guidance, more than 90% of California’s population is currently in areas designated as substantial or high transmission.
This week, California began requiring state and health care employees to provide proof of vaccination or submit to regular testing. California is also requiring universal masking and other prevention measures as schools fully open for the upcoming school year.
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CNS, KTVU contributed to this report.