Los Angeles County Implements Mask Mandate as Respiratory Illnesses Surge
In response to a significant increase in respiratory illnesses, Los Angeles County healthcare facilities have implemented a mask mandate. The surge in illnesses can be primarily attributed to a rise in COVID-19 infections, which have led to an alarming number of hospitalizations and deaths.
On December 29, the county’s COVID hospital admissions reached the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “medium level.” This indicates that the county’s rate of new COVID-related hospital admissions has reached between 10 and 19.9 admissions per 100,000 population over a seven-day period. Specifically, L.A. County has reported around 10.5 new COVID-related hospital admissions over the past week.
Several factors have contributed to this surge in infections. Holiday gatherings, where individuals ignored social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines, played a significant role. Additionally, a more contagious variant of the virus has been identified in the area, which has further facilitated its rapid spread. Low vaccination rates and cold weather have also been contributing factors.
The mask mandate applies to a wide range of licensed healthcare facilities, including hospitals, nursing facilities, and clinics. The requirement is expected to remain in place until hospital admission levels retreat to the low threshold for 14 consecutive days. This step is crucial in reducing the transmission of the virus within healthcare settings and protecting vulnerable patients.
The surge in respiratory illnesses goes beyond COVID-19. A rising tripledemic, comprising influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and COVID-19, is impacting families in Southern California. In December alone, nearly one in four L.A. County residents have fallen ill.
Health officials are urging the public to take necessary precautions to mitigate the spread of these illnesses. They recommend staying home if feeling unwell, getting tested if experiencing symptoms or having been exposed to COVID-19, practicing frequent hand washing, and wearing a well-fitted mask in crowded indoor spaces.
For further information or inquiries about flu, RSV, or COVID-19, the L.A. County Public Health InfoLine is available.
As the surge in respiratory illnesses continues to pose a significant threat to the community, it is crucial for residents to remain vigilant and adhere to the guidelines provided by healthcare authorities.
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