By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Two weeks after amending orders to lift virtually all restrictions that were previously in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, County of Los Angeles Public Health now “strongly recommends” wearing a mask indoors when in public as a precautionary measure while the Delta variant circulates.
“With increased circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health strongly recommends everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places as a precautionary measure,” the department shared in a statement on Monday, June 28. “In the week ending June 12, Delta variants comprised of nearly half of all variants sequenced in Los Angeles County.”
The Delta variants are now responsible for about one in every five new infections of COVID-19 across the county, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is up from about one in every 10 the week prior.
“Fully vaccinated people appear to be well protected from infections with Delta variants, however people with only one vaccine dose of Pfizer or Moderna are not as well-protected,” Public Health reported. “The smaller number of COVID-19 infections identified in people who are fully vaccinated have been mild illnesses.”
Public Health is urging people to wear masks indoors in public settings, including grocery and retail stores, theaters and family entertainment centers, and workplaces when not everyone’s vaccination status is known.
“Until we better understand how and to who the Delta variant is spreading, everyone should focus on maximum protection with minimum interruption to routine as all businesses operate without other restrictions, like physical distancing and capacity limits,” according to Public Health. “If you aren’t fully vaccinated, your mask is one of the most powerful tools you have to protect yourself and other unvaccinated people. This is especially true when you are in an indoor or crowded outdoor space.”
Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer shared that while the COVID-19 vaccine provides “very effective protection preventing hospitalizations and death against the Delta variant,” the strain is proving to be more transmissible. It is expected to become more prevalent.
“Mask wearing remains an effective tool for reducing transmission,” Ferrer added, “especially indoors where the virus may be easily spread through inhalation of aerosols emitted by an infected person.”
Anyone 12 and older who lives or works in LA County is eligible to be vaccinated. To make an appointment and find vaccination sites, visit vaccinatelacounty.com. Those without internet access or who are over the age of 65 can call 1-833-540-0472 for more information.
As of June 25, 79.1% of Pacific Palisades and 77% of Palisades Highlands residents have gotten at least one shot, according to data from Public Health.
As the Post went to print Tuesday, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 had reached 1,249,835 across the county when factoring in Long Beach and Pasadena, with 24,482 deaths.
Pacific Palisades had reached 858 confirmed cases and 14 deaths Tuesday, with an additional 150 in Palisades Highlands and one death.
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