What you need to know about the new mask mandate in Long Beach, LA County

Due to rising infection rates of COVID-19, the county and city health officer said Thursday they would institute a new indoor mask mandate for everyone, including those who are vaccinated.

When does it take effect? 

In Los Angeles County and Long Beach, the new mandate will take effect at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, July 17.

Long Beach and Pasadena are the only cities in the county with their own health departments, which means they can make their own rules. However both cities said Thursday they will follow the county’s lead.

Long Beach released its revised health order late Friday.

What does it mean? 

Dr. Muntu Davis, the county health officer, said Thursday that it will apply to everyone regardless of vaccination status.

The order does not include closures or capacity limits on businesses like what was required under orders prior to June 15. Residents will still be able to dine out and eat inside restaurants, but they must now wear a mask when not eating or drinking.

Davis said the county needs to get control of COVID-19 infection rates in order to avoid stricter orders like those under the state’s former Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a color-coded system that tied closures and other restrictions to infection rates and testing positivity.

Why now? 

The region has seen a significant surge in new cases of COVID-19, primarily among those who are not vaccinated. In Long Beach, 84% of all new cases in the month of June were among those not vaccinated.

On June 15, the day the state lifted all restrictions, the county saw 210 new cases of COVID-19; on Thursday, the county reported 1,537 cases, the highest number since mid-March. And on Friday, the county reported more than 2,000 news cases.

The test positivity rate is now 3.7%; on June 15, the test positivity rate was around 0.5%.

“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” Davis said during a virtual news conference on Thursday.

The positivity rate in Long Beach is currently 4.1% and the case rate per 100,000 residents is 9, the highest since April 4. The city also reported an additional death on Thursday, bringing the city’s total since the pandemic began to 948.

Health officials have said a combination of factors have likely led to the swift increases in cases: The June 15 reopening, the July 4 holiday weekend, the new “delta variant” of the virus that is more contagious and the fact that a large swath of the population still has not been vaccinated.

In Long Beach, 33% of those who are eligible for a vaccine—which is everyone over 12—have not been inoculated.

Long Beach, LA County to require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status

 

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