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LA County Mask Mandate May Return in Two Weeks, Top Health Official Says

What to Know

  • LA County may enter the “high” COVID-19 community level as soon as Thursday.
  • An indoor mask mandate will return if the county remains in the “high” category for two consecutive weeks.
  • A universal mandate would apply to all indoor public spaces.

Los Angeles County is on track to enter the “high” COVID-19 community level as soon as Thursday, in which case an indoor mask mandate would return two weeks later, the public health director said Tuesday.

If the county continues at its current pace, masks could be mandated indoors again by July 29.

Where Are We Now?

The county is in the “medium” COVID level as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which factors in the number of virus cases and hospital admissions.

What Does the CDC’s ‘High’ Community Level Mean?

To reach the “high” category, the county’s rate of daily COVID-positive patients admitted to area hospitals would top 10 per 100,000 residents.

As of Tuesday, that rate was at 8.8 per 100,000 residents.

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the Board of Supervisors she expects the county to move into the “high” activity category within days.

When Will the Indoor Mask Mandate Return?

A mandatory indoor mask mandate will be imposed if the county remains in the “high” category for two consecutive weeks — which, under the current pace, means the mandate will take effect by July 29.

“I do recognize that when we return to universal indoor masking to reduce high spread, for many, this will feel like a step backwards,” Ferrer said.

But she said universal masking “makes a lot of sense because it helps us to reduce risk.”

COVID-19 is spreading rapidly again, as cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising every day. Toni Guinyard reports for Today in LA on Friday, July 8, 2022.

What Would the Mask Mandate Change?

Masks are already required on all forms of public transportation in LA County and in other indoor spaces, such as health care facilities, correctional facilities and shelters.

For more information on current mask wearing rules, click here.

A universal mandate would spread the requirement to all indoor public spaces, including shared office spaces, manufacturing facilities, retail stores, indoor events, indoor restaurants and bars and schools.

Do Masks Reduce Infection Rates?

Recent studies say yes, particularly for people who wear well-fitted and higher-grade masks like N95 or KN95 masks.

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