As Pandemic Conditions Improve, Will L.A. County Lift Its Mask Mandate?

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer discussed the possibility on Tuesday, but didn’t lay out a timeline

It felt like a big blow to our pandemic progress when back in June L.A. County reinstated an indoor mask mandate just days after it was lifted at the state level. Now, as the county’s transmission, case, and hospitalization rates continue to drop, public health officials are discussing the possibility that the mandate will again be lifted.

At the County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said, “With lower transmission and with more people vaccinated we are hopeful that we will be able to lift the mask mandate in settings where there is a large gathering and we know people are vaccinated.” She clarified that taking that step would be contingent on numbers continuing to fall.

According to county stats, 69 percent of eligible county residents 12 and older are fully vaxxed, and 78 percent have had at least one shot. On Tuesday, 964 new cases were reported, which means the average daily rate of people testing positive for COVID-19 is hovering at around 1 percent.

According to Deadline, Supervisor Holly Mitchell expressed concern that pandemic conditions aren’t improving equally across the county. Ferrer agreed. “We have pockets where transmission is still a concern,” she said. “Those pockets are located in communities where there are lower vaccination rates.” In advance of another precarious holiday season, Ferrer said they’ll be focusing on encouraging people to get their shots.

What’s not clear is exactly when the mask mandate might lift. Ferrer said, “I think we’re going to live with masking as a tool for awhile to come.”

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