California officials have restored the state Capitol’s mandate to wear masks for all lawmakers and employees, whether or not they have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. After nine new infections were confirmed in the area.
Authorities revealed that all nine of the new coronavirus cases were legislative staffers of the state Capitol. On Tuesday, Secretary of the Senate Erika Contreras and Assembly Chief Administrative Officer Debra Gravert wrote in memos that immediately required all personnel to wear face masks while inside the Capitol, Legislative Office Building and district offices.
Additionally, legislators and staff who have not yet received vaccinations against the COVID-19 virus will have to get tested two times a week starting on Thursday. Contreras urged those who have been vaccinated to also get tested of their own free will.
There have been rare cases where vaccinated individuals tested positive for the coronavirus infection and are called “breakthrough” infections. However, public health experts said these types of cases are less likely to develop severe symptoms or be hospitalized or succumb to death.
California has more than 20 million vaccinated residents and only recorded 8,699 coronavirus infections. The COVID-19 outbreak at the Capitol came less than a month after state authorities removed the majority of restrictions on June 15 to start reopening the public fully to residents, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Despite unvaccinated staff at the Capitol being required to wear face masks, inoculated employees were allowed to remove their facial coverings while inside their offices. The California Department of Public Health was the one that recommended the reinstitution of the face mask mandate after the new infections were reported last week. Gravert noted that seven of the nine people infected were working inside the same office.