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Conflicting mask recommendations between CDC and Riverside County

Riverside County board of supervisors decided to not reinstate a mask mandate after being updated on coronavirus case numbers county and state wide. 

"I'm not declaring at all that we should go towards mandating a mask. However, I just want us to be aware of what's happening at this time," said supervisor Manuel Perez.

Just hours after the county's meeting, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended all people in in 'high transmission areas' wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. The CDC included Riverside County as one of the 'high transmission areas.' 

News Channel 3 reached out to Riverside County health officials about the update from the CDC and received this statement:

"Riverside County Public Health is aware of the most recent guidance/recommendations from the CDC regarding the use of masks for vaccinated individuals in high transmission areas. We are reviewing the action and are awaiting guidance/recommendations from state health officials.” 

The county's public health officer, Dr. Geoffrey Leung, provided the latest case numbers for the county: 

  • The case rate is 10.7 per 100,000 comparing it to a low of 1.5 per 100,000 earlier in June
  • Overall positivity rate is 6.5% compared to a low of 1.1%
  • 56.6% of people 12 and older have been partially or fully vaccinated
  • 49.1% of people 12 and older are fully vaccinated
  • 59% of people 18 and older are partially or fully vaccinated 
  • 51.7% of people 18 and older are fully vaccinated 
  • 74%.9 of people 65 and older are partially or fully vaccinated
  • 66.9% of people 65 and older are fully vaccinated

"Overall, the numbers today represent more than a five-fold increase in case rate and positivity over the past two months," said Leung. "However, these numbers are still far below our previous surge numbers in January 2021." 

The mask recommendation from the CDC and the county are conflicting each other and its causing confusion for some.

"We keep getting new information or different information. It's hard to keep up, I suppose," said tourist Stephanie Godfrey. "And I want to make sure that I'm doing the right thing to keep the people around me safe."

Godfrey said as she's been traveling to different states this summer, keeping up with different mask mandates has been tough. 

"I find it confusing. I don't like it," said La Quinta resident Paul McCarthy. "But if we got to wear a mask, wear a mask."

The owner of the restaurant RD RNNR in La Quinta, Chris Chmielak, said he is prepared for any new updates regarding mask-wearing.

"If the guidelines from Riverside County come down and say, you know, employees must wear masks, we'll go ahead and do that and follow the rules," Anderson said.

County health officials said they will continue to monitor cases numbers and encourage people to get vaccinated.

Coronavirus / Top Stories / Video
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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.

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