Los Angeles County could reinstate mandate indoor masking anew

Photo by Michael Owen Baker

AS summer approaches, Los Angeles County could return to mandatory indoor masking if COVID-19 trends continue to increase.

LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Thursday, June 2 said that the county would be considered in the federal government’s  “high” virus activity category   if COVID-related hospitalizations rise above 10 per 100,000 residents, or if the percentage of staffed hospital beds occupied by COVID-positive patients tops 10%.

Ferrer added that it would be “likely…towards the end of June.”

“Actual hospital admissions could increase at a faster rate, or if case numbers stabilize or decrease in the next two weeks, the rate of increase in hospitalizations could be a lot lower,” she said during Thursday’s briefing. “As we look to the near future, it reminds us that we ourselves also have the ability to influence where these numbers go. We all have the power to take steps to reduce the amount of viral spread, which ultimately reduces the number of people that are in the hospital with a positive COVID-19 infection.”

If the category occurs, it would prompt the county to return to an indoor mask mandate, which was lifted on three months ago on March 3.

Currently, the county is listed in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “medium” virus-activity category, based on the cumulative seven-day rate of new cases.

Alameda County in Northern California is the first county in the state to bring back its indoor mask mandate, which took effect on Friday, June 3.

Public Health reminded residents that masks are required inside health care settings, on public transit and at indoor transit hubs, long term care settings, shelters and cooling centers, and correctional facilities. Employees and customers must wear a mask at any workplaces or venues with required masking. Masking is also required by the LA County Health Officer Order for anyone who is still within 10 days of a COVID diagnosis or exposure when around others.

“With the high transmission of the BA.2.12.1, masking provides a strong defense against viral transmission. Each resident should consider not only their own personal risk, but also the risk to family members, friends, co-workers and those sharing public spaces, as they make decisions about taking precautions such as masking, gathering, getting tested, and getting vaccinated or boosted. In situations where transmission risk is higher, we know with certainty that masking allows us to protect ourselves and those around us. Masking helps protect those in our county who are more vulnerable. We help keep everyone working. And it is a fairly simple way to do our part to help prevent overburdening the healthcare system we all depend on,” Ferrer said.

Public Health also on Friday reported 10 additional deaths and 5,051 new positive cases. Of the 10 new deaths reported today, one person was between the ages of 30-49, four people were between the ages of 65-79, and five were among people aged 80 years or older. Of the 10 newly reported deaths, nine people had underlying health conditions. To date, the total number of deaths in LA County is 32,154.

Public Health has reported a total of 2,990,651 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County. Today’s positivity rate is 5.0%.

There are 522 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for more than 12,034,362 individuals, with 22% of people testing positive.

The Filipino-American Community Newspaper. Your News. Your Community. Your Journal. Since 1991.

Copyright © 1991-2022 Asian Journal Media Group. All Rights Reserved.