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COVID-19 hospitalization rate slows, pushing back estimated return date of indoor mask mandate

Angelenos may just miss the looming reinstatement of the indoor mask requirement as Los Angeles County coronavirus numbers have begun to trend in the right direction. 

As cases continued to climb from week-to-week, Department of Public Health director Barbara Ferrer warned of the potential return back on June 3, as Los Angeles County was moved from a low to medium classification by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The county was projected to move into the high tier by the end of the month, or at least by early July, but with what appears to be a slowing pace, Dr. Paul Simon, Chief Science Officer at the County Department ofPublic Health, predicts that move may not happen until mid-to-late July, or at all. 

According to Simon, the current seven-day average shows 84 patients admitted on a daily basis, a small jump from last week's 83, but the brief plateau in hospital admission rates, which sat at 7.3 patients per 100,000 residents over two weeks, is a move in the right direction. 

As it stands, the transmissibility rate within Los Angeles County still remains high, with an average of 4,400 new cases reported daily, but that number still represents a nearly 7% drop from the week prior. 

While Simon believes that numbers may be misrepresented due to the amount of at-home tests now being taken and failure to report results, he said that personal decisions -- wearing a mask indoors, on public transit, getting vaccinated -- are having a direct effect on the overall infection rate. 

"I know the public is getting very fatigued with our repeated messaging, but it is so important -- to the greatest degree possible, be strategic," Simon said. "In certain environments when you know there's greater risk of transmission of the virus, wear that mask."

These slowly declining numbers come as a new round of vaccinations were made available to the public, for children between the ages of five-years-old and six-months-old, the last notable age demographic to be approved for the vaccines. 

While several Los Angeles County locations began administering those lessened doses to children earlier in the week, Long Beach began the same process on Friday, opening a single location.

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