Los Angeles County has returned to the federal government’s “high” COVID-19 community activity category.
On its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised residents to stay up to date on vaccines, get tested if they have symptoms and wear face masks indoors in public spaces.
On Thursday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 3,450 new positive cases and 17 new deaths – although the number of cases is believed to be higher due to people not reporting results or not not test at all.
In a briefing, Dr Barbara Ferrer, director of the department, said the day’s case rate was 258 per 100,000 people and was increasing by 6% each day.
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“And because it impacts our healthcare system and our vulnerable residents, it’s a layer of time in sensitive safeguards,” she urged during a PowerPoint presentation, asking that all elderly residents 2 years and older wear a mask indoors.
She noted that millions of county residents are at high risk, especially since three respiratory viruses are circulating: influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19.
“When you put your mask on for those few weeks during this wave, it’s the people of LA County,” Ferrer added.
However, it is unclear if a warrant would return.
“We’re actually not sure we’ll get there,” Ferrer said in response to a reporter’s question.
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She clarified that the department needs the measure of the percentage of COVID-19 patients to increase to 10% before issuing such an order.
Moreover, it would only come after two consecutive weeks of staying at this high level.
According to Fox 11, the daily hospital admission rate exceeded 10 per 100,000 population, with the percentage of hospital beds occupied by patients at 6.9%.
Ferrer said that while the county hasn’t reached that dangerous threshold yet, there’s still too much transmission of COVID-19 and now is the time to mitigate risk.
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Masks are still required in health care and congregate care settings, for anyone exposed to the virus in the last 10 days, and in businesses where they are required by the owner.