Los Angeles County entered the federal government’s “high” COVID-19 community activity category. Thus, moving the county closer to a possible return of an indoor mask mandate. The county’s average rate of new infections rose to 258 per 100,000 people. This number is well above the threshold of 200 per 100,000 to qualify the county for the “high” activity level.

So far, the county isn’t returning to any official lockdowns or business closures imposed at the height of the pandemic. However, the “high” category means the virus is rampant in the area, and the chances of being exposed are higher. The mask will reimpose an indoor mask mandate if the county stays in this current category and the county’s virus-related hospitalization numbers reach two thresholds. Those thresholds are: If the rate of daily hospital admissions tops 10 per 100,000 residents and if the percent of staffed hospital beds occupied by COVID patients. The mask mandate would go into effect after the county has suffered two consecutive weeks of both thresholds remaining high.

LA County has surpassed the first threshold, with daily hospital admissions already at 14.8 per 100,000 residents. The percent of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients was 6.9{44affb6c5789133b77de981cb308c1480316fee51f5fd5f1575b130f48379a33} as of Thursday, still below the 10{44affb6c5789133b77de981cb308c1480316fee51f5fd5f1575b130f48379a33} threshold.

Recommendations Amid A Future Mask Mandate

The county strongly recommends mask-wearing in indoor public settings. Masks are still required indoors at healthcare and congregate-care facilities for anyone exposed to the virus in the past ten days. They are also required at businesses required by the owner.

The county reported an average of 3,800 new infections per day over the past seven days, a 40{44affb6c5789133b77de981cb308c1480316fee51f5fd5f1575b130f48379a33} increase from the previous week. At the same time, daily virus-related hospital admissions jumped by 9{44affb6c5789133b77de981cb308c1480316fee51f5fd5f1575b130f48379a33} over that week. The county also reported 17 more COVID-related deaths on Thursday, lifting the cumulative death toll to 34,279. Furthermore, the seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 13{44affb6c5789133b77de981cb308c1480316fee51f5fd5f1575b130f48379a33} on Thursday.