Los Angeles County's top health official is warning that escalating COVID-19 case rates reaching the CDC's "high" level has the potential to result in a mandatory indoor mask mandate being reimposed within the next few weeks.
The announcement was made Thursday by County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determines the federal government's COVID-19 Community Levels – Low, Medium and High – based on a matrix of new hospital admissions, the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by virus patients and the total new COVID cases– all per 100,000 residents.
County hospitals the same day as Ferrer's announcement reported 524 patients in hospitals with COVID. The number of patients at which the mask mandate would be triggered is about 1,000.
Ferrer also reported 5,000 cases now, a slight increase compared to last week. However, she says the number is an undercount because it doesn’t include positive results from over-the-counter tests, according to Deadline.com.
The 7-day daily virus positivity-rate in Los Angeles is now 5.3%.
In Northern California, the Bay Area's largest county, Alameda, has already announced it will reinstate its masking mandate in indoor public spaces.