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LA County To Require Masks Indoors Starting Saturday Night Regardless Of Vaccination Status

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles County officials released a new Health Officer Order Thursday requiring masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.

The new order will go into effect on Saturday night at 11:59 p.m.

Masked and unmasked people make their way through Grand Central Market in Los Angeles, California on June 29, 2021 as World Health Organization (WHO) urges fully vaccinated people to continue wearing masks with the rapid spread of the Delta variant. - Officials are issuing new mask guidance as Covid-19 cases are spiking in parts of the US, especially in areas with low vaccination rates due to the more contagious Delta variant. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

According to officials, exceptions will apply similar to masking requirements in place prior to June 15.

The move comes as more than 1,000 COVID cases a day have been reported in the county over the last seven days.

On Thursday, officials reported an additional 1,537 cases and three deaths.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID in L.A. County jumped to 452 on Thursday, up from 406 on Wednesday. Of those hospitalized, 96 are in intensive care units.

L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said the county is "not where we need to be" in terms of vaccinations

According to Davis, as of June 11, 10,712,037 vaccine doses have been administered and 5,067,109 L.A. County residents have been fully vaccinated.

Davis said that given the rising spread of the virus, "waiting to do something would be too late."

However, there is debate among county officials on whether it's necessary.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Supervisor Kathryn Barger said that while she was "concerned by rising cases," she did not "believe the mask mandate will help efforts to stress vaccine efficacy and compel unvaccinated residents to get vaccinated.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva also took to Twitter to say that the "underfunded/defunded will not expend our limited resources and instead ask for voluntary compliance."

And while she did not say whether she supported the latest mandate or not, Supervisor Janice Hahn took to Twitter to call out unvaccinated people.

"Right now, unvaccinated people are required to wear masks indoors — but they aren't and they are spreading this virus to other unvaccinated people," she said. "Since we don't have a system to verify people's vaccination status (maybe we should), not everyone has to mask up indoors."

The city of Long Beach, which has its own health department, released a statement Thursday saying it will follow suit with the county and also require masks indoors.

"The City of Long Beach has seen a 288% increase in average daily cases over the past two weeks as well as a current case rate of 7.5 per 100,000 residents," Long Beach City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis said in a statement...Given these numbers, the City of Long Beach will align with L.A. County in requiring masking indoors regardless of vaccination status."

Meanwhile Thursday, the Sacramento County Public Health Officer recommended that fully vaccinated people should once again start wearing a face mask indoors in settings where vaccination verification is not required.

Similar to L.A. County, officials said the increase in daily COVID-19 cases appears to be due, in part, to the Delta variant.

The variant was first detected in India, where widespread infections were reported. The variant is also credited for significant outbreaks in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world.

On Friday, Las Vegas officials announced they are advising people to wear face masks in crowded indoor places, regardless of vaccination status.

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