TIJUANA (Border Report) — The president of Tijuana’s Medical Health Cluster, Dr. Abraham Sánchez Frehem, is imploring Tijuana officials to bring back facemasks as a way to keep “the guard up.”

Sánchez Frehem said while facemasks are not mandatory, they are still essential in the fight against COVID-19.

“The pandemic has not been dominated, the virus is very much present,” he said.

He is urging residents to continue practicing preventive measures to avoid a future outbreak and perhaps other strains.

“We need to move forward as individuals and families to safeguard ourselves,” said Sánchez Frehem. “The pandemic is far from over.”

During the last week, 315 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Tijuana along with seven deaths.

Right now in all of Baja California, there are 435 active cases.

“The virus is still reproducing and mutating. Perhaps today the variants are not as aggressive, but tomorrow you never know,” he said. “There are expectations cases will spike as we head into winter along with influenza. … It’s good to be vaccinated and have the booster shots, but we need to keep up with our hygiene measures, especially facemasks.”

Since April 25, the use of facemasks has been deemed optional in closed and open spaces in Mexico.