Alameda County in Medium COVID-19 Tier

Update as of Tuesday, December 20, 2022: The City of Oakland reinstates mask mandate inside all city buildings, effective until March 31, 2023. City buildings include “libraries, City senior centers, senior adult care facilities, recreation centers, and civic center buildings.”

The Alameda County Department of Public Health announced last Friday that it has moved to “Medium CDC COVID-19 Community Level.” The county was previously in low COVID-19 community spread.

This means that “homeless shelters, emergency shelters, and cooling and heating centers must now reinstate universal masking requirements for all staff and residents, and Alameda County correctional and detention facilities are now subject to both local and statewide masking requirements. Indoor masking continues to be required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in health care settings and long-term care facilities,” according to the county’s emergency announcement.

On Friday, December 9, 2022, there were 154 reported patients in the hospital due to COVID-19, with 16 in ICU, according to the county’s dashboard.

This announcement comes a few weeks after the City of Oakland, under the direction of Mayor Libby Schaaf, said that masks will no longer be required inside city facilities for employees or visitors starting on Monday, November 28, 2022. The announcement still recommended wearing masks as a scientifically proven safety measure. Facilities include City Hall, Parks and Recs buildings, libraries, and more.

Part of the letter reads:

“This decision presumes that there is not a material change in the severity of COVID-19 spread, and that no other critical issues arise in circumstances or the law that would require widespread masking in the workplace. While masks are almost universally recommended as a prudent and low-impact safety measure against infection in the workplace, as the public appetite for masking diminishes, mandatory masking ordinances, rules, and policies are falling to the wayside.”

However, on Monday, December 12, the city sent a letter to city departments stating that they can now mandate mask-wearing.

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*The original article was updated with latest city announcement on Monday.

Author Profile

Momo Chang is a freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the Oakland Voices Co-Director. Her work focuses on healthcare, immigration, education, Asian American communities, food and culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Momo has received journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting and the Asian American Journalists Association, among others. Her work has appeared in the East Bay Express, San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, and The New York Times. Momo is primarily a print journalist who also produces audio and visual stories for documentary film and radio. She is a Senior Contributing Editor for Hyphen and formerly the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).

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