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L.A. County’s indoor mask mandate will most likely return in late July

Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve worn a face mask. Maybe you never gave up one at all. Either way, it’s looking increasingly likely that you’ll need to wear one indoors again very soon.

On Thursday, Los Angeles County entered the CDC’s “high” community tier for Covid-19. If the county stays within that range for two consecutive weeks (which will be on July 28th and is looking increasingly likely), then we will see a return to a mask mandate for all public indoor spaces on July 29th.

The return of the mandate is not quite official yet, but Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr Barbara Ferrer said it was “much more likely” to remain at a “high” level for two weeks than to return to “medium” within that time. That’s because Los Angeles’ accommodation is based on a surge in hospitalizations (currently 10.5 per 100,000 people), which tend to lag the rise in cases by about two weeks. With cases still rising, “it’s hard to imagine that in two weeks the hospital admissions data will drop” below 10 per 100,000 people (the “high” threshold), Ferrer explains.

So why not just redo the mandate now? Public health wants to ensure businesses have time to understand the changes. Under current rules, masks are only required indoors in healthcare facilities and on public transport (plus a few other extreme cases). Come July 29th (most likely), they will once again be mandatory in indoor restaurants, bars, offices and shops – basically any public indoor space. They will not be needed outdoors, nor will you need to wear one if you are under the age of two or while actively eating or drinking.

Public Health recommends that Angelenos use a well-fitting N95, KN95, or KF94 respirator for maximum effectiveness. This is followed by a double mask (a medical mask with cloth over it), a fitted medical mask, and a cloth or non-fitting medical mask, in order of effectiveness.

The increase in hospitalizations in Los Angeles comes as the highly portable variants of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are rapidly spreading across the county. As of the end of June, almost half of all reported Covid-19 cases were BA.5, and this proportion is probably even higher now (as well as the total number of cases, which is certainly understated by the prevalence of home testing).

Looking ahead, according to some previously stated guidelines, LA’s mask mandate will expire after reaching the “medium” level thresholds for two consecutive weeks. But if public health sees a steady decline, the mandate could be dropped sooner.

L.A. County’s indoor mask mandate will most likely return in late July Source link L.A. County’s indoor mask mandate will most likely return in late July

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