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Covid-Hit LA on Track to Reinstate Indoor Mask Mandate Next Week

·1 min read

(Bloomberg) -- The Los Angeles health authority cautioned that an indoor masking mandate is on track to be reimposed next week, even for the fully vaccinated, unless Covid-19 cases take a sharp drop.

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A universal mandate will be put in place across the US’s most-populous county after a “high” level of community-transmission for two straight weeks. If the current trends hold, a new mandate would go into effect on July 29, according to Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director.

“I think it’s highly likely that we stay in high,” Ferrer said at a briefing Thursday. “Of all the tools we have used in this pandemic to counter the spread of Covid, indoor masking is one of the simplest, and turns out to be a very effective tool that we have to counter rapid spread of the virus.”

On Thursday, the county reported a daily total of 18 new Covid-related deaths, and 8,691 new cases. The hospital admission rate per 100,000 residents climbed to 11.4. Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 accounted for 72% of the specimens sequenced in the region for the week ending July 2.

The county already requires masking in airports, on public transit and in health-care settings. An indoor mandate across the region, if ordered, would require residents to wear masks in public settings, including restaurants, bars, businesses and schools.

In other parts of California, some schools and universities already re-imposed masking orders over the past couple months, including University of California campuses and the San Diego Unified School District.

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