As COVID cases rise, LA County returns to ‘strongly’ recommending masking up indoors

Los Angeles County Public Health Department officials “strongly” recommended that residents mask up ahead of the holiday season.

Citing rising cases and new deaths, county health officer Dr. Muntu Davis advised in a Thursday media briefing that high-quality and well-fitting masks should be worn in public indoor spaces, on public transit, in homeless and emergency shelters and correctional and detention facilities.

In addition, masks remain required for people exposed to the virus in the past 10 days, at health care settings and congregate facilities and anywhere where it is required by the site.

The county cited a Nov. 9 Harvard University study it said highlights the importance of masking.

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A man adjusts his American flag face mask on July 19, 2021, on a street in Hollywood, California, on the second day of the return of the indoor mask mandate in Los Angeles County due to a spike in coronavirus cases.
((Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images))

Also on Thursday, the department reported 1,949 new coronavirus cases and 10 new deaths.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the daily number of newly reported cases has spiked by nearly 70% from a month ago, though still shy of previous waves.

Reported case figures are likely to be an undercount, as many residents test at home or opt against testing.

In a briefing a week earlier, the county said it made sense to mask up as the holiday season approaches.

Los Angeles, CA – September 28: An aerial view of the downtown Los Angeles skyline as seen from the Pico-Union area of Los Angeles at dusk in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.
((Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images))

For the past few months, indoor masking has been a matter of personal preference unless individual businesses or locations chose to require them.

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A signboard reminds people of the face covering requirement as pedestrians wear facemasks due to the coronavirus in Los Angeles, California on November 12, 2020.
((Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images))

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Health officials around the country have warned of a third winter COVID-19 surge as new variants continue to spread, and cautioned Americans to be up to date with their shots.