Public health authorities in Los Angeles County announced residents will be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of their vaccination status, due to increased Covid-19 transmission.
The new mandate will go into effect at 11.59 p.m. on Saturday, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The new mandate comes a month after California fully reopened its economy on June 15 by lifting almost all restrictions.
State authorities said then that masks were no longer required for fully vaccinated individuals in most public settings.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said that the county “sees more than a seven-times increase in new cases since the June 15 reopening”, adding that community transmission of the virus has rapidly increased from moderate to substantial, based on the trend in daily new cases.
On June 15, Los Angeles County saw 210 new cases and officials confirmed on Thursday the highest number of new cases since mid-March with a total of 1,537.
The test positivity rate has increased from the 0.5 per cent seen a month ago to Thursday’s 3.7 per cent, according to the data released by the department.
It’s the seventh day in a row the county, home to over 10 million residents, has reported over 1,000 new cases amid spread of Delta variant in the region.
“We expect to keep masking requirements in place until we begin to see improvements in our community transmission of COVID-19,” said Muntu Davis, Health Officer for Los Angeles County, urging all eligible residents to get vaccinated.
To date, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has reported 1,262,578 positive cases with 24,566 deaths in the county.
Official data showed that among residents aged 16 and above in Los Angeles County, 69 per cent have received at least one dose, and 61 per cent now have been fully vaccinated.