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With Rise in COVID Cases, Could Indoor Mask Mandates Return to LA County? – NBC Los Angeles

106912898 1626707122145 gettyimages 1234040723 AFP 9FB4MY

106912898 1626707122145 gettyimages 1234040723 AFP 9FB4MY

New numbers show a sharp increase in COVID cases this week just as hospitals are also dealing with a surge in Flu and RSV patients.

But does that mean indoor mask mandates could return in LA county?

LA county public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer says right now, with this the current surge in COVID cases, the county is not at a point of reinstating the indoor mask mandate.

But if things get worse at hospitals, it could happen by the end of the month.

She says the important thing is to start wearing our masks again to protect against what is now a triple threat.

More people are getting sick and getting sick earlier this winter according to doctors in the ER and ICU who had expected a jump in patients just not so soon.

“These are typically not the type of numbers we see till end of December early January so the fact that we’re starting the season so early is an ominous sign,” Dr. Thomas Yadegar, ICU director at Cedars Providence Tarzana hospital, said.

“These numbers clearly demonstrate that covid is still with us,” Ferrer said.

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New numbers show COVID cases and hospitalizations increasing along with cases of the Flu and RSV.

More than 4,500 reported in LA county on Wednesday, nearly double the more than 2,300 on Tuesday.

Officials say the real numbers are likely much higher because of home tests that aren’t reported. UCLA’s Dr. Anne Rimoin says since people are not wearing masks as much as they used to, it was inevitable that COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases would spread.

“People should be looking like this like the weather when we start to see predictions for rain we put on a raincoat,” Dr. Anne Rimoin, a UCLA epidemiologist said. “So wearing a mask for example is a great protector against respiratory diseases in general it’s going to protect you against Flu against RSV as well as COVID-19.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer announced on Thursday that this week LA county moved from the low to medium community level for COVID-19 as defined by the CDC.

She says the county’s indoor mask mandate would return if the county reached both a high level of hospitalizations and dwindling bed capacity.

“We would need both of those metrics to also be at the high level as well as our case rate to be at the high level then follow the CDC guidance which includes universal indoor masking,” Ferrer said.

Health officials say if you aren’t already, now is the time to go back to wearing masks in crowded settings, getting the new omicron booster, and getting regular COVID tests.

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