The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced that they will be reinstating the indoor mask mandate “regardless of vaccination status” due to a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
The announcement was made by L.A. County health officer Dr. Muntu Davis, who revealed that the new rule will go into effect on July 17, Saturday night, at 11:59 p.m.
“Waiting to do something would be too late given what we’re seeing now,” Davis said.
Exceptions applied will look similar to the ones before the mask mandate was lifted on June 15. Two weeks after announcing that vaccinated people were no longer required to wear masks, the health department “strongly recommended” that everyone should continue to wear masks indoors in public places as a precautionary measure in light of the increasingly transmissible Delta variant.
The number of cases and hospitalizations have been rising in LA County over the past week. 1,315 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Wednesday, which is almost 10 times higher than the 135 cases reported exactly a month before. Dr. Sam Torbati., the medical director of the emergency department of Cedars-Sinai, warned that this trend could get worse.
“All of a sudden in the past couple weeks, we have seen a seven-fold increase in the number of people coming to the emergency room with COVID-related issues,” Torbati said. “Right now we’re seeing more young people infected because they’re more active and proportionally less-vaccinated. They’re not wearing face masks. They’re not protected so they’re going to get infected.”
Torbati added that “the vast majority of the hospitalized patients are unvaccinated” at county-run hospitals.
“We have to take care of each other,” Torbati said. “Be aware of each other’s health and do everything we can to be part of each other’s solutions.”