With a decision expected tomorrow on whether Los Angeles County will require the wearing of closed masks due to the rise in cases of the more contagious BA.5 variant, the City of El Segundo has added your name to its list of local cities today. that if the country enforces it, it will refuse to enforce such a rule.
“My City Council colleagues and I strongly believe that the decision to wear masks should be an individual choice and not be imposed by Los Angeles County,” El Segundo Mayor Drew Boyles said in a statement. Said. “People need to consider the available data and consider their own circumstances and make their own decisions about wearing masks. Businesses should review the various agencies that regulate their business to decide how to respond to potential changes in mask requirements. ”
The council voted against the implementation of a potential mask order at a special meeting Tuesday night.
Beverly Hills City Council held a similar vote Monday night, saying the new mask rules would not be enforced. Beverly Hills was one of the first cities in Los Angeles County to require outdoor masks in 2020. City officials have decreed that everyone must cover their faces when leaving their homes.
The cities of Long Beach and Pasadena, which run their own health departments separately from the county and therefore have the authority to decide on the orders of paramedics, announced Tuesday that they will not require masks, even if the county allows it.
” [Long Beach] The Department of Health strongly encourages people to use personal responsibility and common sense to protect themselves, their loved ones and the general public from COVID-19.” Long Beach said in a statement. It is recommended that they do a quick test and choose outdoor activities if possible.”
Officials in Long Beach and Pasadena said they will continue to monitor the Covid situation. Pasadena officials said they “will consider appropriate public health actions to protect our community as the situation evolves.”
The State Department of Public Health is expected to announce on Thursday whether a new mask requirement will be introduced on Friday.
County public health director Barbara Ferrer said the mission would be enforced if the state remained at a “high” level of virus activity for two weeks in a row, as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The country will reach these two weeks on Thursday.
The country moved into the high category when the average daily rate of new Covid-related hospitalizations reached 10 per 100,000 people. Until last Thursday, the national rate was 11.7 per 100,000 people.
The number of Covid infections and hospitalizations has stabilized and even decreased in the last week and a half. Ferrer said last week and reiterated Tuesday that the country could stop mandating a new mask if downward trends continue.
He told the supervisory board on Tuesday that given the recent cuts, “we may be in a position to stop the distribution of universal masks”.
Most metrics following the pandemic have relaxed, Ferrer said on Tuesday, with the average daily new case rate for the past week falling to about 6,100 from 6,700 the previous week. He said that hospitalizations related to the virus have also returned to normal, as much as the number of deaths per day, but he emphasized that the second number is very high, about 14 deaths per day.
But on Wednesday, the numbers rose again. The number of newly reported covid cases has more than doubled since Tuesday, when it was over 3,500, to just under 7,300. The increase follows a familiar pattern seen in recent weeks that may have given false hope earlier in the week. test results are slow during the weekend, with numbers from Sunday to Tuesday often much lower. But once deficits are eliminated, the number of daily cases usually increases significantly every day, including Saturday. Ferrer also cautioned that current daily figures are likely to be “largely underestimated”, as home test results are not reported.
The percentage of total cases and the generally more accurate test positivity on the 7-day average also increased again. After dropping just over 14% yesterday, numbers have adjusted again, with most of the week in the low 15% range and Wednesday’s figure climbing to 16.2%.
Covid-related hospitalizations rose to about 1,280 from Monday, but fell from 1,329 last Thursday. But as daily cases increase, the near-certainty of hospitalizations two weeks later complicates the rationale for authorities to suspend mask duty, as Ferrer warned last week.
Deaths have also increased significantly today, from 5 on Monday to 20 today. This latest number is consistent with what was seen at the end of last week.
Los Angeles County is the only jurisdiction in the state to consider the mask requirement, but all but eight of its states are at the CDC’s “high” virus activity level.
Opposition to the concept grew as Ferrer defended the idea of the mission, describing it as a simple and proven tool to curb infection and protect workers at national companies.
County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said on Monday she would not support the mission. According to him, she acknowledges that masks are an effective tool against the spread of the virus, but she does not believe that an assignment will have the desired effect.
“I’m totally against demanding masks because I think it would have the opposite effect,” Barger said at Tuesday’s board meeting.
Inspector Janice Hahn joined him in opposing a possible mission, saying she feared such a rule would be “too divisive for Los Angeles County.” Both were dissident voices before the mask requirement was lifted in January.
“Honestly, I think a significant portion of the population doesn’t want to accept the mask requirement right now,” Hahn said. “And many of those who contacted me stated that we now have more vehicles than at the start of the pandemic.
“I’m personally concerned that we’ve lost trust this time around a part of society that has been with us up to this point,” he said.
Hahn suggested that the country consider expanding the list of places where masks are still required to include supermarkets and pharmacies instead of all enclosed spaces. Ferrer said his department was considering the idea.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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