Los Angeles prepares to relaunch mask mandate – RT World News
Local officials have raised the county’s risk level to ‘high’ amid a rise in cases, paving the way for further restrictions
Los Angeles County in California is on track to reimpose its mask mandate due to a spike in new Covid-19 infections, warning that face coverings may again be required in all indoor public spaces if the increase in cases persists.
The LA Health Department on Thursday raised the county’s pandemic risk level from « medium » to « high » after recording 8,535 new cases and 14 deaths during the previous day, citing guidelines created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Based Hospitalization Numbers.
New restrictions would be triggered if the level remains “high” for two consecutive weeks, meaning the return of masking rules as early as July 29. According to CDC guidelines, an area is considered “high” risk once local hospitals hold Covid-positive patients at 10 per 100,000 population.
Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said universal masking « makes a lot of sense because it helps us reduce risk », while recognizing that for many residents, « It will feel like a step backwards. »
Ferrer went on to predict an even higher number of cases in the coming weeks, suggesting the warrant will likely be renewed. Still, she said LA didn’t see « Anywhere near the devastation this summer that we saw in last winter’s omicron surge, » referring to a fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus.
While LA still requires masks in a number of indoor spaces — such as hospitals, transit, airports and prisons — a universal mandate would mandate face coverings in virtually all indoor public places, including offices, factories, retailers, schools and restaurants. A previous sweeping masking order was lifted in March after authorities reduced LA’s risk level to « low ».
As the county prepares for new terms, the World Health Organization also called for a return to face coverings earlier this week, with the organization’s chief executive, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warning that « the virus is circulating freely and countries are not managing the disease effectively. »