Mono County Public Health Reminds Residents and Visitors to "Mask Up for MLK" Weekend
January 13, 2022 – Mono County is experiencing an unprecedented number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases from the highly contagious and transmissible Omicron variant. Escalating community transmission resulted in the temporary closure of in-person instruction at Mammoth Unified School District (MUSD) facilities, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) isolation/quarantine recommendations for individuals impacted by COVID-19 are severely taxing the resiliency of our local businesses. Now more than ever, residents and visitors are encouraged to wear a mask indoors, get tested when sick, get vaccinated, and get boosted when eligible.
According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), over the last two weeks, the statewide seven-day average case rate has increased more than six-fold, and hospitalizations have doubled. In Mono County, the COVID-19 positivity rate is a staggering 43% of those tested. In addition, case rates per 100,000 are the highest ever recorded at 401 over a 7-day period – up from 185 the week prior. Regardless of your vaccination status, wearing a mask indoors is a proven and effective health measure to decrease the rate of infections, and slow community transmission.
In California, masks are required for individuals two years and older in all indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status, through February 15, 2022, with very limited exceptions. In Mono County, a Local Health Order (Order) requiring the use of face coverings (masks) for both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents and visitors within indoor public spaces in Mono County and the Town of Mammoth Lakes has been in effect since August 6, 2021.
Upgrade Your Mask!
An effective mask has both good fit and good filtration. A well fitted mask has no gaps between the face and mask. With gaps, air that has virus particles can easily leak in or out around the sides of the mask. A properly fitting mask with filtration greatly improves protection for others if you are infected, and protection for you if you are exposed to an infected person. Regardless of the mask type, it is only effective if it is worn over your mouth and nose.
According to the CDPH, the least effective mask is a fabric mask with three or more cloth layers, while surgical masks or higher-level respirators (e.g., N95s, KN95s, KF94s) provide the best protection against COVID-19. Mono County Public Health urges residents to upgrade their masks to N95 or KN95 masks that better block COVID-19 virus particles. During this Omicron surge, Public Health also recommends individuals reconsider attending higher-risk activities, including indoor activities, activities where individuals are unmasked for long periods of time, as well as crowded outdoor events.
For additional information on types of masks, the most effective masks, and ensuring a well-fitted mask, individuals should refer to CDPH Get the Most out of Masking and see CDPH Masking Guidance Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
In workplaces, employers are subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), or in some workplaces, the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standards, and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements.
Transmission Times for an Infectious Dose of COVID-19
According to the CDC, a non-mask wearing, uninfected individual can be infected with COVID-19 within 15 minutes if standing within 6-feet of an unmasked infected person. The table below highlights infection times for individuals wearing masks and without masks.
COVID-19 Testing in Mono County
Both OptumServe and Mono County Public Health provide COVID-19 testing clinics in Mono County (pending weather-related issues). OptumServe now offers testing Tuesday through Saturday from 11am – 7pm in Mammoth Lakes at the Sierra Star Golf Course (2001 Sierra Star Pkwy.). Testing staff typically take lunch between 3-4pm. Pre-registration is required for OptumServe, and is encouraged for Mono County Public Health testing clinics. The Mono County COVID-19 testing schedule for January can be accessed here: https://coronavirus.monocounty.ca.gov/pages/health.
Get Tested this Weekend!
The California Department of Public Health, COVID-19 Outbreak Response Team (ORT) will be providing COVID-19 Antigen/PCR testing for community members ONLY this Saturday, January 15, and Sunday, January, 16, 2022 from 9am – 5pm at Mammoth High School (365 Sierra Park Rd) in the multipurpose room. County residents are required to bring proof of residency. Pre-registration is preferred: https://my.primary.health/l/mammothhighschool.