Santa Clara County health officials expect to drop the county’s indoor mask mandate on March 2, provided that the 7-day rolling average of new COVID cases remains below 550 for the seven consecutive days until then.
It sits at 501 as of Thursday, the first time the average has hit below 550 since county officials set the metric for removing the indoor mask mandate.
The masking requirement would stay in schools, despite the general mandate being lifted. State health officials earlier this month said they were revisiting school guidance, though.
Thursday’s announcement comes just over two weeks after the county health department set its own criteria for removing the mandate — a 7-day average daily new case count of 550 or below, “stable and low” hospitalizations and an 80% or higher vaccination rate — despite neighboring counties opting to drop the mandate on Feb. 16 in accordance with state guidance.
The county will still “strongly recommend” wearing masks indoors in public, though, even if the mandate is dropped next week.
“Our COVID-19 hospitalizations are low and stable, and today we have met the new case metric as well,” said County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody in a press release. “These data are very encouraging, and I anticipate that our steady downward trend in cases will continue.”