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State updates guidance on indoor masking, testing for mega events and testing due to travel

In response to rising cases and hospitalizations statewide due to COVID-19 and to slow the spread of the Delta and Omicron variants, the California Department of Public Health has issued the following updated guidance:

  • Universal Indoor Masking: Masks are required to be worn in all indoor public settings, regardless of vaccine status, between December 15, 2021 through January 15, 2022
  • Testing for Mega Events: Individuals attending Mega Events (indoor crowds of 1,000 or more, or outdoor crowds of 10,000 or more) must provide proof of vaccination, a negative antigen test within one day of the event, or a negative PCR test within two days prior to entry into the event, facility or venue
  • Travel Advisory: All travelers arriving in and returning to California from other states or countries are recommended to test for COVID-19 3-5 days after arrival, regardless of vaccination status

The indoor masking requirement will go into effect beginning December 15, 2021, and the State will make further recommendations after January 15.

“As expected, we are beginning to experience a rise in cases, not only here in Orange County but statewide and nationwide, due to increased holiday gatherings and travel,” says Dr. Clayton Chau, HCA Director and County Health Officer. “We support the State’s latest measures intended to bring additional protection to us all and our loved ones. As I mentioned before, we have all the tools available to fight the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, through vaccination, testing and prevention measures including masking.”

Between December 8 and December 13, the seven-day average COVID-19 case rate increased from 7.7 to 9.9 per 100,000 people and the average number of daily COVID-19 cases increased from 250 to 322. There was a slight drop in the positivity rate from 3.4 to 3.2 percent and hospitalizations from 196 to 194, while ICU admissions increased slightly from 59 to 63 per day.

Eligibility for booster doses of the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine are now expanded to individuals ages 16 to 17, who may receive a Pfizer booster dose six months after completing their primary vaccination series.

Residents who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or are eligible for their booster dose are encouraged to access the most convenient option available to them to get their shot. For more information on where to go for a vaccine, visit COVIDVaccineFacts.comand click on “Find a COVID-19 Vaccine”.

Self-collection, at-home COVID-19 test kits are being distributed to travelers at John Wayne Airport in Terminals A and C and are available at no cost by visiting ochealthinfo.com/covidtest.

For more information on COVID-19 information and resources, including case counts, vaccination and testing in Orange County, visit ochealthinfo.com/covid.

This article was released by the OC Health Care Agency.