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BREAKING: Masks 'strongly recommended' to be worn indoors by Ventura County Public Health agency

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The county of Ventura Public Health Agency released a statement Monday, July 19, "strongly recommending" all community members wear masks indoors to prevent further spread of COVID-19. The recommendation comes as Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin stated in a press release that some county residents who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have been hospitalized with the disease. 

The recommendation serves as a precautionary measure for those who are fully vaccinated as cases continue to rise locally due to the highly transmissible Delta variant. 

According to the Ventura County Public Health press release, people are "strongly recommended" to wear masks indoors in settings like grocery or retail stores, theaters, and family entertainment centers, despite vaccination status. The mask will serves as an added layer of protection for both themselves and unvaccinated residences. 

"The Delta variant is spreading quickly in our state," stated county Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin. "All community members should take action to protect themselves and others against this potentially deadly virus. While vaccines remain our best tool against COVID-19, masking in indoor and crowded outdoor settings will help us curb the spread of this latest wave of infection. Ventura County data have recently shown that unvaccinated people are 22 times more likely to become infected and hospitalized than vaccinated residents. Several of our hospitalized people have been vaccinated and that is several too many."

The Delta variant comprised 43% of all specimens sequenced in California and is reponsible for 58% of new infections across the country. 

“We are seeing a significant growth in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in our county," said Public Health Director Rigoberto Vargas. "As of today, (July 19), there are 504 new cases since July 12, 41 current hospitalizations and nine community members in the ICU. The daily case rate per 100,000 has increased to 4.4. All community members are encouraged to get vaccinated to help protect themselves and loved ones. This will also help reverse this concerning trend of increasing cases since June 15.”

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as with Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single dose vaccine such as Johnson & Johnson. People with only one vaccine dose of Pfizer or Moderna are not fully protected. Completion of the vaccine series is necessary to provide full protection, according to Ventura County Public Health.

Public Health will continue to monitor transmission rates, hospitalizations, deaths and increasing vaccination rates throughout the county and will re-evaluate the recommendation in the coming weeks. 

The most up-to-date COVID-19 information for the county can be found at: www.vcrecovers.org.

Free vaccine sites throughout the Ojai Valley include:

Vaccines are also available at: