More areas urge masks indoors as Delta rages… Kansas City hospitals turning away patients

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56% of Californians are being asked to wear masks indoors again as Delta variant rages

The latest recommendations from Santa Barbara, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Ventura raise to 17 the number of counties now asking even fully vaccinated individuals to wear face coverings as a precaution while inside places like grocery stores, movie theaters and retail outlets.

So far, only one — Los Angeles County — has gone a step further and mandated that masks be worn in such settings. The city of Pasadena, which has its own independent health department, said it would do likewise later this week.

“All community members should take action to protect themselves and others against this potentially deadly virus,” Ventura County Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin said Monday. “While vaccines remain our best tool against COVID-19, masking in indoor and crowded outdoor settings will help us curb the spread of this latest wave of infection.”

The new round of advisories means that roughly 56% of Californians live in a county that either recommends or requires indoor masking for all individuals, including those vaccinated for COVID-19.

‘A tipping point’: Kansas City hospitals are turning away patients due to COVID surge

Like other hospitals in the Kansas City region, the University of Kansas Health System is turning down transfer patients because its beds are full, setting up a potential crisis, its chief medical officer said Wednesday.

“I think we’re at a tipping point,” Steve Stites said during KU’s daily briefing. “If we don’t take it seriously, we could easily end up back where we were in November.”

The hospital is “running full steam,” like others in the metro, because of an increase in COVID-19 patients and others returning to the hospital who may have stayed away at the height of the pandemic. Last fall, Stites said, the hospital had beds available.

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