la-county-to-loosen-mask-rules-when-covid-19-numbers-improve:-report

Los Angeles County officials reportedly said Thursday that face coverings will no longer be required in certain outdoor settings once COVID-19 hospitalizations in the area drop. 

The leaders also said indoor mask regulations could be loosened following additional progress, according to The Los Angeles Times

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This “post-surge” phase will occur when hospitalizations fall below 2,500 for seven consecutive days, the publication reported.

In addition, masks will still be required indoors until the county records two consecutive weeks at or below “moderate” transmission of the virus, and officials will not further rescind masking requirements unless there are no reports of significantly circulating variants of concern that have the ability to threaten vaccine effectiveness.

Masks also still would have to be worn where required by the state or federal government, The Times noted.

People wear face coverings as they ride an escalator in Union Station in Los Angeles. 

People wear face coverings as they ride an escalator in Union Station in Los Angeles.  (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Recently, the city of San Francisco changed its mask mandate, implementing new vaccination requirements and allowing people heading to offices, gyms and other indoor spaces with “stable” groups of people to shed masks.

A stable group is defined as any group of 100 or fewer people where everyone is vaccinated and the population is recurrent, The San Francisco Chronicle explained.

California’s indoor mask mandate is set to expire on Feb. 15. 

Los Angeles County says everyone – regardless of vaccination status – must wear a mask in all indoor public settings, venues, gatherings and public and private businesses. 

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Additionally, masks are required on all forms of public transportation and transportation hubs, as well as in health care settings. 

Residents may remove their masks when actively eating or drinking as long as they are sitting or standing in a specific place, showering or swimming or receiving personal hygiene or personal care services that cannot be done without removing the mask. 

Children younger than 2 years old, people with certain medical conditions or disabilities and some instructed by their medicinal provider should not wear a mask. 

Kids ages 2 to 8 years old should wear a mask only when under adult supervision. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that people, in general, do not need to wear a mask when outdoors – but that some people might choose to wear one when in sustained close contact with others in areas of substantial or high transmission.

Los Angeles County data shows, as of Feb. 2, the number of current hospitalized COVID-19-confirmed patients was 3,398. 

The dashboard also shows that the seven-day daily reported percent of COVID-19 tests that are positive is 10.73%. 

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There were 96 new deaths reported as of Thursday and 11,548 new COVID-19 cases; cases have been trending downward in recent weeks.

In total, the county has seen 2,695,076 cases and 29,195 deaths – including those reported by the Long Beach and Pasadena Health departments. 

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