Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer revealed today that the county has officially entered the CDC’s “High” Community Level. Ferrer has warned of the prospect for weeks.
If the county remains in the CDC-designated High level for two consecutive weeks, it will again impose what Ferrer called “a universal mandatory indoor mask-wearing mandate.”
See below for a list of what is currently required and what will be required if the county remains in the High designation for the next two weeks.
Ferrer noted, however, that “We’re not including gyms and yoga studios.” She requested that people in those situations mask up anyway or move the activities outside, where masking is not required for any of those venues listed above.
She also noted, “We have never issued citations for people who have decided not to wear their masks,” and did not seem keen on beginning that kind of enforcement.
“I recognize that when we return to indoor masking this will seem like a step backwards,” Ferrer acknowledged. “The reality is that we’re living with a mutating SARS-CoV2 virus.”
Indeed, Ferrer revealed today that the first case of what’s thought to be an even more immunity-evading Omicron subvariant, called BA.2.75, has been found in L.A. And that’s even as Omicron BA.5 has driven daily cases to levels not seen since January, with hospitalizations and deaths beginning to rise, as well.
While not encouraging Angelenos to panic, Ferrer did emphasize, “We’re saying there is need to worry. This variant is highly infectious, easily transmitted. We need an additional layer of protection.”
That layer, she indicated, is a mask.
Asked if there are any circumstances in which the county would reinstitute a shutdown of public gatherings like the one promulgated early in the pandemic Ferrer answered, “I would say, probably not. But again, there’s so much uncertainty with the mutations. We have a lot of good tools that would make it unlikely that we would have to go back to a lockdown. But I’d never say never.”
She continued, “The caveat is if there were some mutation that really evaded the protections we have now for preventing illness and death. Could there be some highly unusual, highly-unlikely situation that would cause us to shut down? Yes, but it would be highly unusual and highly unlikely.”
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