As COVID-19 cases surge in San Luis Obispo County and hospitals face extreme demands on their capacity, County of San Luis Obispo Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein has issued a Health Officer Order requiring masking in all indoor public places.
"This surge is stretching our local health care system too close to the breaking point and if it continues, we risk losing our ability to care for people with common conditions like heart attacks, broken bones or even cancer. We cannot let that happen,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County of San Luis Obispo Health Officer. "By returning to indoor masking now, for a period of time, we can help protect our hospital capacity, protect our vulnerable neighbors, and help keep our economy open.”
The order goes into effect on September 1, 2021 (12:01 a.m.) and applies to those who are vaccinated as well as to those who are not.
The order comes as 67 SLO County residents are hospitalized with severe COVID-19, including 20 in the ICU. This is the highest number of COVID-19 patients SLO County has ever had in the ICU and the hospital. COVID-19 cases have increased dramatically during the month of August, with 3,543 new cases and 18 deaths in the past month, compared with 163 cases and no deaths during the month of June.
While vaccines remain the most effective tool against COVID-19, universal indoor masking is the least disruptive and most immediately impactful additional measure to curb the spread of the virus and reduce intense pressure on the health care system.
“Getting vaccinated as a community is our ticket out of hospital surges, out of this increasing drumbeat of preventable deaths, out of restrictions like masking requirements,” said Dr. Borenstein. “Today, we must take this step of putting on our masks to stop the surge and protect our community. As we look ahead, I implore you to protect yourself and your family with the vaccine.”
Fully vaccinated people are well-protected from infections and serious illness from known COVID-19 variants, including the Delta variant. To get your COVID-19 vaccine at a Public Health clinic in Paso Robles, Grover Beach, or San Luis Obispo, visit myturn.ca.gov or call (833) 422-4255. To find other vaccine providers, visit myturn.ca.gov or VaccineFinder.org.
For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit ReadySLO.org or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at (805) 788-2903. Phone assistance is available at (805) 781-5500 Monday - Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on COVID-19 vaccine, visit www.RecoverSLO.org/Vaccine.