Los Angeles County may reimpose indoor mask mandate if COVID transmissions climb

In June, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer dropped a plan to reimpose an indoor mask mandate

Los Angeles County could re-introduce its mask mandate, health officials said Thursday. 

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said required masking indoors could come back if the county reaches the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) high transmission rates and hospital bed occupancy categories.

"If both hospitalization indicators, new COVID-19 admissions and the proportion of staffed in-patient beds occupied by COVID patients, surpass the threshold for high, LA County will return to universal indoor masking," she said. 

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A man gets a haircut as people still wear their masks, amid the coronavirus pandemic, in Los Angeles in February. Los Angeles County health officials on Thursday said they could reimpose the mandate if COVID transmission climbs. 

A man gets a haircut as people still wear their masks, amid the coronavirus pandemic, in Los Angeles in February. Los Angeles County health officials on Thursday said they could reimpose the mandate if COVID transmission climbs.  (Reuters)

As of Thursday, the county's community transmission level was at medium, with a rate of 165.3 cases per 100,000 people, Fox Los Angeles reported. New COVID-19 hospitalizations were at 11.9 per 100,000 people and 5.6% of staffed inpatient beds being used by COVID-19 patients, according to data from the CDC. 

For a county to reach the high transmission category, the threshold kicks in once it reaches more than 10 new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 people if the county sees more than 200 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, according to the CDC. 

Indoor masking in the county remains optional. 

On Thursday, the county reported 4,493 new COVID-19 cases and 14 new deaths. 

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The county lifted indoor masking for public transit in September