MENDOCINO Co., 3/6/22 — Public Health Officer Dr. Andrew Coren downgraded Mendocino County’s indoor masking order to a strong suggestion Friday, saying that Covid-19 case rates have come down since the Omicron surge, but also that transmission rates here remain in the highest category. Coren defended having kept the local masking requirement in place longer than required by the state based on local conditions. In the future, he hopes to rely more on public recommendations.
“We’re coming off without a doubt the highest surge we’ve had in this pandemic. The numbers are dropping rapidly and that’s making us all very happy,” Coren said during a press conference. “Hopefully moving forward we’ll all be able to care for ourselves and our families and our communities without so many orders.”
Coren still recommends wearing a mask in indoor public spaces, even if it’s no longer required. When asked who that recommendation applies to, he clarified that it applies to pretty much everyone.
“People should continue to wear a mask indoors. Especially with Omicron, there’s so much transmission from asymptomatic people,” Coren said. “My recommendation is still strong for everyone to wear a mask indoors.”
There were zero Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds available in Mendocino County as of Friday, and just four open med-surg beds. Coren said mortality rates are dropping because healthcare providers have more effective treatments than they did 24 months ago.
The new “test and treat” strategy mentioned in President Joe Biden’s March 1, 2022, State of the Union address — in which patients could receive pharmaceutical treatment at a pharmacy immediately after testing positive — may soon be available in Mendocino County, according to Coren. Meanwhile, individuals who have symptoms should continue to mask and those who test positive for Covid-19 should self-isolate for 10 days.
“If your symptoms are resoliving and you have no fever, get tested at five days,” Coren said. “If your test is negative, emerge from isolation, but still wear a mask for the rest of that 10 days.”
So far 124 Mendocino County residents have died as a result of Covid-19 infections, according to county records. As of March 4 there are six Covid-19 patients hospitalized in Mendocino County, as well as two more in the ICU. Out of 12,893 cases recorded so far, 12,682 have been released from isolation.
Coren wrote a letter to the community on rescinding the masking order which you can find here. Mendocino County Public Health also streamed Friday’s news conference on social media. You can find the video on the county’s Facebook page or watch below: