Los Angeles County is reintroducing indoor-mask mandates to combat COVID-19 infections in the area. This comes as hospital admissions continue their rise.
“There’s a common view that the pandemic is over, and COVID should not be of concern. But these numbers clearly prove that COVID still exists,” Barbara Ferrer County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer stated at a press conference on Thursday .
Up 180% from Nov. 1, the county now has more than 2,700 new COVID infection per day. She stated that virus-related hospital admissions have increased by 200% from the previous year to 192 per days.
Los Angeles County also saw an increase in the weekly incidence of new cases to 185 per 100,000 people, which boosted it from “low” viral activity to “medium,” according CDC guidelines.
Masking is “strongly advised” despite the “medium risk level”.
Ferrer however warned that the county could move to “high” viral levels by next week. That would lead to an indoor-mask mandate.
To reach the “high” category, the county’s weekly population would need to have at least 200 residents. Its hospital admissions must also be greater than 10 residents per 100,000. A COVID patient would be required to occupy more than 10% of hospital beds.
On Thursday, the hospital admission rates had exceeded the CDC’s threshold with 11.9 new admissions for every 100,000 residents. Only 5.6% of the county’s hospital beds were occupied with COVID patients.
Ferrer stated, “Given both increases in hospitalizations as well as the uncertainty in the winter trajectory COVID-19’s, continuing some common-sense mitigation techniques that we know work in transmission and illness prevention, including masking with boosters and vaccines, remains a very sensible strategy.”
She said that the current trend does indicate that there are higher hospitalizations and cases, and she could see us in the “high” community as soon as next week.
Ferrer’s announcement quickly generated a social media reaction.
Twitter user lamented that they “push false data and fearporn via their daily news.”
Another person tweeted “The only city that’s begging for masks back is Los Angeles.”
“They’ll always have rolling mandates,” said the writer, noting that “it’s been very common” in Louisville, KY.
Other commenters were more open-minded to the idea. One person wrote, “How do I prevent long Covid?”
“Vaccines. Masks. Paxlovid. Telling people that Covid is just a cold is the worst crime.
Another Twitter user said that the mandate should already exist.
“Why delay to implement a simple step that could temper the surge and reduce deaths, long Covids, hospitalizations, & more mutations?” said the person.
The department had reported 4,493 new cases of COVID Thursday and 14 additional deaths. There are currently 1,164 hospitalizations.
According to department officials, about 40% of hospitalizations were due to COVID-related symptoms. Others were brought in after being diagnosed with separate conditions.
While masks are no longer required throughout the county, they are still mandatory in hospitals and congregate care areas like nursing homes, per department’s web.
The LA County COVID surge is compounded by an increase in RSV and flu cases during the winter months. The Post published alarming statistics about pediatric RSVs in New York City’s hospitals earlier this month.
Dr. James Schneider of Long Island Jewish Hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit stated at the time that “We’re caring more for kids than we have bed for.”
Los Angeles authorities urge residents to continue with vaccinations as COVID infection rates continue to rise. Even though a vaccine can prevent the transmission of COVID even if a person is vaccinated, it will protect you from serious symptoms.