Indoor mask mandate to return for L.A. County amid COVID-19 surge

Los Angeles County will reinstate its indoor mask mandate for all residents, regardless of vaccination status. The order will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. July 17, The Los Angeles Times reports. 

"We expect to keep this order in place until we begin to see improvements," Muntu Davis, MD, the county's health officer, said during a July 15 news conference. 

This comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom fully reopened the state June 15, lifting most pandemic-related safety measures such as indoor capacity limits and the statewide mask mandate. Since then, COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County have increased dramatically. 

"We took a chance in terms of lifting the physical distancing requirements as well as the capacity limits," Dr. Davis said. "We changed the masking at the time. We felt it was reasonable to do given the level of community transmission that we had at that moment — but this is not the same situation. We're in a very different situation. This is not the same as what it was since June 15."

On June 15, the county averaged 173 new cases per day. By July 15, the county reported 1,537 new cases, The Los Angeles Times reports. Hospitalizations have also increased from 223 on June 15 to 452 as of July 14. 

"We're not where we need to be for the millions at risk of infection here in Los Angeles County, and waiting to do something will be too late given what we're seeing now," Dr. Davis said.


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