At least nine people who work at the California state Capitol tested positive for the coronavirus last week, including four who are fully vaccinated, triggering a return of the mask mandate for lawmakers and staff.
When the Capitol reopened last month, masks were still required in public places like hallways, committee rooms and legislative chambers. But fully vaccinated lawmakers and staff were allowed to remove their masks while working in their offices.
That changed this week following the outbreak. The new directive applies not just to the Capitol, but also the Legislative Office Building and lawmakers’ district offices. Unvaccinated lawmakers and staff must also be tested twice per week, according to memos from the state Assembly and Senate.
It appears the outbreak is among employees of the state Assembly, although no official has confirmed all nine cases occurred among those workers.
Debra Gravert, the Assembly’s chief administrative officer, said in a memo last week that seven cases were of people who worked in the same office. Secretary of the Senate Erika Contreras said that chamber doesn’t have any “current cases.””
Last month, with infection rates at record lows, Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted nearly all of the state’s coronavirus restrictions. But recently, public health officials shave warned that the especially contagious delta variant of the coronavirus has spread rapidly among the unvaccinated population, causing a rise in new cases and hospitalizations.
Read full story on ktla.com
Los Angeles County public health officials have urged people to resume wearing masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status. Newsom is not now considering a return of a statewide mask mandate or other restrictions.
“Well, if we continue to get people vaccinated that will be unnecessary,” he said Wednesday. “This is the call to anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated: Get vaccinated. What more evidence do you need?”