Los Angeles County Requiring Masks Indoors Again For Everyone Starting Saturday Night; L.A. Now In “Substantial” Spread Category

“This is an all hands on deck moment,” said Los Angeles County Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis. “We’re seeing the rates go up too high. We all need to do our part to try and prevent the need to do something else.”

In light of that, Davis announced on Thursday that the county was again issuing a health officer order requiring all residents to wear masks in indoor spaces. The order will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. this Saturday.

He said the order, which he himself is responsible for signing, “will be similar” to masking requirements the county had in place before its June 15 reopening. Sacramento-area health officials announced a similar order on Thursday.

The Health Officer walked through the L.A.’s most recent numbers and noted that the county’s case rate per 100,000 people is now 7.1. That puts the region in the “Substantial” category of spread, according to the CDC. (It’s worth noting that 7.1 would also put L.A. in the same category of Governor Gavin Newsom’s onetime Blueprint for a Safer Economy tiers, which were abandoned on June 15.

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The Delta variant is now 71% of all sequences in L.A. County, said Davis. Given that, the fact that slightly under 4 million of L.A.’s residents remain unvaccinated makes the potential for spread “high.”

“We’re seeing cases in children and younger adults rising,” he warned, before noting that adults getting vaccinated helps protect the children who live with them.

The county recorded 1,537 new cases on Thursday. That’s up from 1,315 on Wednesday and 1,103 on Tuesday. Those rising numbers are being identified even as testing has dropped precipitously.

Tuesday was the fifth consecutive day cases topped 1,000. For perspective, one month ago the 5-day average of cases was 201. On Tuesday, the 5-day average is 1,095; this is an increase of more than 500% in just one month.

A more reliable number, the 7-day average test positivity rate, had increased nearly 700% from the 0.5% seen a month ago to Tuesday’s 3.4%. On Sunday it was 2.4%, so it rose over 40% in 48 hours alone.

Asked if there is potential for further restrictions Davis said, “Everything is on the table if things continue to get worse. The next level is ‘High Transmission,’ and that’s not a place that we want be. We can’t wait for this to go higher before we act.”

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