Los Angeles County sets requirements for revocation of COVID-19 mask mandate

The Los Angeles County Department of Health on Tuesday unveiled a set of criteria being monitored for a possible repeal of mandates to wear masks at large outdoor events and indoor environments such as workplaces, but the requirements are likely to mean that face clothing will be present in the new year.

The county has maintained its strict masking requirements despite rising vaccination rates and downward trends in COVID-19 hospitalizations and infections.

In a speech to the county supervisory board, Barbara Ferrer said the Department of Public Health has developed a list of key metrics the county must meet before the mask mandate can be lifted for large outdoor events and in indoor environments with less than 1,000 people.

Most notably, the county must have three consecutive weeks of “moderate” virus transmission as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means that the county must have a cumulative seven-day new case rate of less than 50 per. 100,000 inhabitants. According to the CDC, the county’s current rate is 83 per. 100,000 inhabitants, which lands the county in the “substantial” transmission category. Ferrer noted that the county’s rate last week was around 72, meaning virus transmission has actually increased in the last seven days.

Other criteria to be met to consider raising masking requirements are three consecutive weeks with low hospital admissions, a full vaccination rate of 80% of residents aged 12 years and older, and no new reports of widespread circulating COVID-19 “variants of concern. “which can lead to new increases in infections.

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For indoor environments for persons under 1,000 persons, including workplaces, all the same criteria must be met, and such settings must have a vaccine verification system in place and full vaccination of all employees and customers with other requirements for those with approved vaccine exemptions.

The number of admissions has fallen sharply in the county since the summer rise of cases where the number of patients reached 1,800. However, the drop is plateau in recent weeks, with the number of COVID patients in the county at 653 as of Tuesday, according to state figures.

Pr. On October 28, 80% of the county’s residents aged 12 and over received at least one dose of vaccine, and 72% were fully vaccinated. Ferrer said she hopes the county will reach 80% full vaccination of all residents in that age group before the winter break.

Ferrer said she hopes the county “can reach a lower level of community transfer that positions us to use the criteria … to raise the masking demands.”

“Until then, while transmission remains significant, we need to continue to lay layers of protection, understanding that significant spread of the virus affects unvaccinated individuals and increasingly results in post-vaccination infections among the vaccinated,” she said. . “A significant proliferation is also creating a fertile breeding ground for new varieties that could threaten our progress to date.”

Ferrer noted that the county has seen increases in infection rates and hospitalizations over the past week, reflecting trends seen in some other California counties and abroad in locations including the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy.

“Trends elsewhere indicate the need to remain vigilant and focused on preventing a significant winter increase,” she said.

The 653 COVID admissions to the county on Tuesday represented a slight decrease from Monday, when 659 were reported. Of those admitted, 166 were treated in intensive care, down from 173 on Monday.

Ferrer reported a further 17 COVID deaths on Tuesday, giving the county a total death toll of 26,661. She also announced 896 new cases, for a total pandemic of 1,495,014.

The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was around 1% from Tuesday.

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