In Los Angeles County, people will likely no longer need to wear masks in most indoor settings as of Friday, according to the county’s health director.
Currently, L.A. County is categorized as having high COVID-19 risk by the CDC, but it is expected to cut to the low risk category on Thursday, L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer told county supervisors on Tuesday.
As a result of this, the county will modify its order based on a recommendation from the county’s health officer to strongly recommend – but not to require – masks for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people in most indoor settings as of Friday, Ferrer announced.
According to Ferrer, the community will eventually be placed in either a medium or a low-risk category by this Thursday, when the CDC updates its community-level table.
Los Angeles County would be aligned with state rules that recently ended the requirement for people without vaccines to wear masks indoors in California.
According to the California Department of Public Health, Los Angeles County will continue to require masks to be worn by all – regardless of their vaccination status – on public transportation, in emergency shelters, health care facilities, correctional detention facilities, homeless shelters, and long-term care facilities.
It is expected that masks will still be required indoors in schools until March 11, when both the county and the state plan to discontinue the practice.
In addition, Ferrer announced that COVID-19 vaccine verification at outdoor, “mega” events such as those held at Dodger Stadium or the Hollywood Bowl and indoor areas of bars, nightclubs and lounges will shift from being required to just strongly recommended.
In an indoor setting, for example, at mega-events as well as health care facilities and congregate care settings, vaccination verification will still be required.
In Los Angeles, the change comes just a week after a previous county order changed to allow businesses and venues to verify people’s vaccination status and check COVID-19 test results in an effort to make masking only applicable to those who are fully vaccinated.
I expect a further relaxation of masking rules in the update expected on Friday.
Similarly, Los Angeles County has also decided to drop its mask mandate before the expected date.
Initially, the county had hoped that it could lift the mandate once the county hit the mid-March milestone of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s old transmission framework for seven consecutive days – a mark it was planning to reach in the middle of March.
On the other hand, the CDC announced last week that it is shifting to a new system that is based both on the number of Coronavirus cases as well as on admissions to hospitals, easing the mask requirements for most of the country.
It has been estimated that there will be an increase in Coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County in July 2021, which is being attributed to the Delta variant and an increase in the number of cases.
During the course of the mandate, there were two surges fueled by different variants of the virus, known as delta and omicron.
The number of cases in Los Angeles County in the past few weeks has been declining steadily. This is after the most recent winter surge sent infection numbers skyrocketing to record levels.
There are still a large number of people who are not vaccinated in the county. The region continues to grapple with disparities in case rates that are tied to the level of poverty and race.
Ferrer encouraged residents to voluntarily keep masking up indoors, even though the county is expected to be loosening up its requirements soon.
The use of masks is one of the easiest things we can do to prevent COVID-19 transmission and to provide complete protection to both the person wearing the mask as well as to others around them, according to this doctor.