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.
L.A. County health officials said the new rule will take effect on July 17 at 11:59 p.m.
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 L.A. County over the past week. On Wednesday, 1,315 new COVID-19 cases were reported, 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, according to a report from KABC-TV Los Angeles. “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,” KABC-TV reported.