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California’s Most Populated County Brings Back Masks as COVID-19 Cases Surge

July 16, 2021 by Daniel Mollenkamp
In this July 1, 2021, file photo visitors wear masks as they walk in a shopping district in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. A rapid and sustained increase in COVID-19 cases in the nation's largest county requires restoring an indoor mask mandate even when people are vaccinated, Los Angeles County's public health officer said Thursday, July 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

LOS ANGELES- Everyone, whether or not they’re fully vaccinated, will have to wear a mask indoors, according to an order from Los Angeles County, by far the largest county by population in California, the U.S.’s most populated state.

The county reported 1,537 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the highest since mid-March, which pushed the transmission rate from “moderate” to “substantial,” according to a written comment from the county’s public health department.

The county had fully reopened on June 15, but since then, the transmission rate has soared with a more than seven-times increase in cases, spurred on by the highly infectious delta variant and the fact that a significant portion of the area is not yet vaccinated, county public health officials said.

As of yesterday, the county reported a total of 1,262,578 positive cases of COVID-19 and 24,566 deaths.

The indoor mask requirements will begin Saturday at 11:59 pm, according to materials from the county. 

“We expect to keep masking requirements in place until we begin to see improvements in our community transmission of COVID-19. But waiting for us to be at a high community transmission level before making a change would be too late,” LA County Health Officer Muntu Davis said. “Masking indoors must again become a normal practice by all, regardless of vaccination status, so that we can stop the trends and level of transmission we are currently seeing.”

The latest figures available from the state’s COVID-19 tracker show that California has seen 3,748,365 confirmed cases of COVID-19, causing 63,598 deaths in the state.

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