SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Well-fitted masks will continue to be required to be worn indoors by people who are not fully vaccinated following Tuesday's expiration of the indoor mask mandate in San Diego County, the Health and Human Services Agency has announced.
The policy follows California Department of Public Health recommendations. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson immunization.
"People who are not fully vaccinated are more likely to become infected compared to people who have received all the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including the booster," said Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, county public health officer. "The vaccines are the best protection there is to prevent people from getting seriously ill, ending in the hospital or worse, dying."
Masks will still be required in schools and certain other settings regardless of vaccination status.
The county Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to ask the California Department of Public Health to phase out masking in schools in a "safe and responsible" manner.
There were 2,394 new COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths reported Wednesday, increasing the county's cumulative totals to 719,068 cases and 4,854 deaths since the pandemic began.
The number of COVID-positive patients in county hospitals dropped by 21 to 921, according to the latest state data. The number of those patients in intensive care increased to 173 Wednesday, four more than Tuesday.
Available ICU beds decreased by 24 to 164.
A total of 1,111,400 -- or 53.2% -- of San Diego County residents who are fully vaccinated have received a booster shot, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency. Boosters are available for everyone 12 years and older.
The county has more than 400 vaccination sites including pharmacies, medical providers, clinics and county locations. Appointments can be made and sites can be found by calling 833-422-4255 or visiting the MyTurn or coronavirus-sd.com websites.
More than 2.89 million -- or 91.9% -- of San Diego County residents age 5 and older are at least partially vaccinated and more than 2.54 million, or 80.8%, are fully vaccinated.
A total of 22,822 new tests were reported Tuesday with a positivity rate of 14.6%, down from 17.1% on Friday. The county reports this statistic every Tuesday and Friday.