Los Angeles is Nearing Covid Requirements: Los Angeles County has reported 4,744 new cases of Covid infections today. That’s a rise from yesterday’s total of 4,353, and it’s indicative of a trend that may soon necessitate mask use in all indoor public spaces once again.
Covid Requirements for Public Indoor Mask Regulation Are Almost Met in Los Angeles
LA County reported 4,744 Covid infections today. That’s up from 4,353 yesterday, continuing a daily rise that may eventually need masks in all indoor public venues. Since November, everyday infections and hospitalizations have increased across the county. As of Friday, the county’s average daily new infections were 3,053, up 50% from 2,121 a week earlier.
As of Friday, state records showed 1,171 Covid-positive county hospital patients, up from 1,164 the day before. 131 were in intensive care, up from 121 on Thursday. The county recorded 14 more deaths Friday, up from 9-10 daily deaths in recent weeks. The seven-day average daily rate of viral positivity was 12.2% today, which is wonderful news. While high, that figure is down from 13.4% over the preceding four days, suggesting a plateauing of cases.
Hospitalizations tend to trail cases by two weeks, so they will likely keep rising. On Friday, county hospitals had 1,056 Covid-positive patients, up 39% from a week earlier.
According to L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, the increased case and hospitalization statistics have shifted the county from “low” to “medium” Covid community activity. She claimed the county will hit the “high” threshold in days when new cases exceed 200 per 100,000 population. 185 per 100,000 inhabitants.
The county “highly recommends” indoor masking, therefore the adjustment to medium does not modify public health regulations. Ferrer said masks may return indoors in weeks.
If the county hits the “high” community level, predicted next week, and if its virus-related hospitalization statistics surpass two thresholds—10 daily hospital admissions per 100,000 people and 10% of staffed hospital beds occupied by Covid patients—the masking rule will return. The public health agency will reinstate a “universal indoor mask rule” if all measurements remain over those criteria for two weeks.
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Late July was the last time L.A. was close to a mask mandate. Beverly Hills, El Segundo, Long Beach, and Pasadena said they would not implement the rule. Long Beach and Pasadena are exempt from the L.A. County rule since their health departments issue their directives.
Most populated counties including Los Angeles, Orange, and Santa Clara have returned to medium community distribution. Healthcare and congregate-care institutions, companies where the owner requires masks, and everyone exposed to the virus within 10 days must wear masks indoors.
Ferrer also stated that the true number of Covid infections in the community is likely far greater than the official statistics owing to the widespread usage of at-home testing that isn’t reported to the county and the number of ill people who don’t get tested. New viral strains BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are responsible for the present outbreak. Both are BA.5 variants that caused infection spikes earlier this year.
“While there remains doubt about what the impact of Covid-19 will be this winter, there is a rising indication that we are approaching another Covid-19 surge,” Ferrer added.
We know more about Covid, have techniques to reduce catastrophic effects, and are better aware of signs and when to respond. On the other hand, this will be the first winter with rising Covid levels, new strains we don’t know about, and unusually high flu and RSV activity.