SAN MATEO COUNTY (CBS SF) – The health officer in San Mateo County urged residents to continue wearing face coverings and take other precautions to avoid a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections later this year.

Dr. Scott Morrow, the county’s health officer, said in his latest statement to residents that the case rate remains high in the county, hospitalizations were worsening until recently, and models predict a second wave could come in August.

“You all are now the most important variable in how our future will develop. Follow the key behaviors well, including extensive use of facial coverings, and that will bode well for all of us,” Morrow said. “Don’t, and our future will be dim.”

“As to a second wave in August, the existence of such a wave and it’s severity is entirely up to you. I believe we can completely avoid a second wave if everyone does their part,” Morrow went on to say.

Morrow also detailed how the virus appears to be mainly transmitted by droplets in the air and how wearing a face covering is so important to slow the coronavirus spread.

“Being close to someone talking for one minute is like having them sneeze on you. Shouting produces 10 times the amount of droplets as talking. Shouting near others for 6 seconds is equivalent to sneezing on them,” Morrow explained.

Data on the health department’s website showed there were 29 COVID-19 patients in San Mateo County hospitals as of Sunday, with 10 in the ICU. Ninety-nine people in the county have died from the coronavirus, with at 2,625 cases being reported.