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Masks could return to Sacramento schools as COVID-19 transmission levels rise

Masks could be reinstated at Sacramento schools
Masks could be reinstated at Sacramento schools 00:43

SACRAMENTO - The Sacramento Unified School District says its indoor masking requirement could be reinstated if COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

The CDC's COVID community level for Sacramento County is now at a medium level due to an increase in hospitalizations. The CDC says the county's case rate is 85 per 100,000 people and the number of inpatient beds being used by patients with COVID-19 is 6.3 percent.

The school district says if the county moves back into the high level, indoor masking will, once again, be required starting the following Monday.

In April, the District lifted its universal indoor mask mandate approximately one month after California's guidelines did. Then, on June 6, the mask mandate returned after the CDC placed Sacramento County last week into the "high" level category of COVID-19 community transmission. Other nearby counties were also moved into the same tier, including Yolo, Solano, and Placer counties.

Since then, the mask mandate was lifted once again. And while masking isn't required in the District's schools, wearing one is highly recommended. 

Click here to see the CDC's COVID-19 levels in your county. 

National COVID-1 Outlook

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed in late November it is now tracking a new COVID-19 variant of concern around the U.S. known as XBB, which has grown to make up an estimated 3.1% of new infections nationwide. 

The strain's prevalence has grown furthest so far in the Northeast, according to the agency's weekly estimates. More than 5% of infections in the regions spanning New Jersey through Maine are linked to XBB, in this week's "Nowcast" from the CDC.

Earlier this month, the CDC offered preliminary estimates suggesting XBB is potentially doubling in proportion about every 12 days. That could be faster than the current pace of the BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants now dominant across the country.

However, the Biden administration's top COVID officials and experts say they do not think XBB will pose a new threat on the scale of when the Omicron variant first emerged a year ago.

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