covid-19 /

LA County To Reinstate Indoor Masking As Soon As Next Week

‘These Numbers Clearly Demonstrate That COVID Is Still With Us'

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer warned a surge in COVID-19 cases could bring a return of indoor masking in a Thursday press conference.

The County Health Director suggested a return to indoor masking if COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continued pushing the County into a “high” community level. The County could reach “high” viral levels by next week, according to Ferrer.

“There is this common line of thinking that the pandemic is over and COVID is no longer of concern, but these numbers clearly demonstrate that COVID is still with us,” Ferrer said.

“Given both the increases in hospitalizations and the lack of certainty in the winter trajectory for COVID-19, continuing some common-sense mitigation strategies that we know work to limit transmission and illness, including masking and being up to date on vaccines and boosters, remains a very sensible approach.”

“However, it does signal that case rates and hospitalizations are elevated, and we could be in the ‘high’ community level as soon as next week,” she said.

Los Angeles County currently averages more than 4,493 new cases along with 14 new deaths as of Thursday. The County also has 1,164 current hospitalizations, according to an update from Los Angeles Public Health.

Ferrer’s announcement received pushback from County constituents.

“Well was just gonna tear the a– out of LA County Public Health over their bull—- numbers and anticipated mask mandate but; of course, comments disabled,” said one user expressing frustration with the County’s public health social media account.

“When you’re enforcing unpopular authoritarianism on civilians, public opinion becomes rather inconvenient.”

“You can’t be serious. 2700 cases. Nearly 10,000,000 people live here,” said one user.

“Barbara Ferrer is not elected. She’s a county health official who serves at the pleasure of the county board of supervisors,” said Fox LA’s Elex Michaelson. “If 3 of 5 board members wanted to move in another direction, they’d be able to. So far, they haven’t wanted to.”

“Those board members answer to voters.”

Ferrer previously suggested a return to indoor masking in July, citing a separate two week “high” level of COVID-19 infections in the county.

“Lots of folks are asking why we’re bothering and asking why don’t we just let things run their course like other places may have done,” Ferrer said at the time. “I think it’s really hard … to look at the LA County data and not notice who continues to be hardest hit and not notice that we still have lots and lots of people with severe illness, lots of people who die and lots of people with long Covid, and not want to take a fairly straightforward step to try to layer in some additional protections.”

“We are not closing anything down, we are not asking people to not gather with the people they love, we are not asking you to forgo activities you love, we are asking you to take a sensible step,” Ferrer continued. “When there’s this much transmission … put back on a well-fitting, high-filtration mask when you’re indoors around others. And I think that’s the prudent thing to do.”

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