L.A. County Reports 11 New Covid-19 Deaths And 1827 New Positive Cases Ahead Of Reintroduction Of Masking Mandate

Health

Deadline 18 July, 2021 - 09:15pm 55 views

On Saturday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 11 new deaths from Covid-19, as well as 1827 new positive cases and 462 hospitalizations.

Today’s numbers bring L.A. County to a total of 24,579 deaths from the coronavirus, and 1,266,227 confirmed cases.

Test results have now been made available to nearly 7,170,000 people, with 16% testing positive. Today’s daily test positivity rate is 3.7%.

— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) July 17, 2021

Two of the people whose deaths were reported today were over the age of 80. Two were between the ages of 65 and 79; five were between the ages of 50 and 64. One person who died was between the ages of 30 and 49, while another was between the ages of 18 and 29.

Case numbers and deaths announced today may reflect delays in weekend reporting. The Department said, though, that the “rapid increase” in Covid-19 transmission within the County is “alarming.”

Covid cases have gone up by a factor of of eight since the County’s June 15 reopening, increasing four-fold since July 4. The surge is attributed to “the intermingling of unmasked individuals where vaccination status is unknown,” and the increasing spread of the highly infectious Delta variant.

At present, more than five million L.A. residents are fully vaccinated. Still, nearly 4 million have not been vaccinated, including 1.3 million children under the age of 12.

The County is therefore reintroducing its mandate, requiring masking in all indoor public places, tonight at 11:59 PM. The mandate applies to all residents regardless of vaccination status, though it includes exceptions for children under the age of two, for those with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent masking, and for those whose job doesn’t permit masking.

Delta Variant and Unmasked Intermingling Cause COVID-19 Cases to Increase Four-Fold Since 4th of July; Masking Indoors Begins Tonight – 11 New Deaths and 1,827 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County. View https://t.co/W1kwuDvyaI pic.twitter.com/TzRvFbj0Nm

— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) July 17, 2021

“The level of COVID-19 transmission we are currently experiencing is now leading to significant increases in serious illness and hospitalizations, and requires us to take immediate action to prevent erosion of our recovery efforts. And while vaccinations are by far the most powerful tool we have, we are nowhere near herd immunity,” said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. “Please help us get back to slowing the spread by wearing your mask indoors. And for those eligible and not yet vaccinated, please consider getting vaccinated as soon as possible as our full recovery is in jeopardy until more people are vaccinated.”

Los Angeles County Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said on Thursday that the County will consider reimplementing other health restrictions, such as capacity limits and social distancing, if need be.

“Everything is on the table,” he said, “if things continue to get worse.”

But while Los Angeles is now in a category indicating “Substantial” spread of Covid, County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said on Friday that his department will not enforce the masking requirement.

Covid-19 vaccines remain available to those 12 and older, who are living or working in Los Angeles County.

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Los Angeles County Reinstates Mask Mandate as Cases Rise

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The county is reimposing its mask mandate this weekend, regardless of anyone's vaccination status. It is seeing a seven-day average of just over 1,000 new cases per day in a population of nearly 10,000,000 people, yet this is enough to send county health officials into a frenzy. And it might not be the last time it happens.

“We expect to keep masking requirements in place until we begin to see improvements in our community transmission of COVID-19,” Los Angeles County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said Thursday. “But waiting for us to be at high community transmission level before making a change would be too late.”

This is a county where 62% of adults have been vaccinated. It’s also a county that saw Black Lives Matter protests and thousands of Los Angeles Lakers fans celebrating in the streets at points when its case average was higher than it is now. It saw a seven-day average of around 16,000 new cases at its peak in late December and early January.

For the record, this is the spike in Los Angeles coronavirus cases that led to them reinstating the indoor mask mandate pic.twitter.com/Z0BvMvUh9u

But this isn’t a surprise. Los Angeles County was always overly strict when it came to lockdowns. The county’s ban on outdoor dining during the pandemic was thrown out by the courts. It then banned restaurants from having televisions. Of course, these restrictions didn’t apply to everyone: Just hours after voting to ban outdoor dining as “a most dangerous situation,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl went to Santa Monica to eat at one of her favorite restaurants.

Los Angeles County is in conflict with state health officials on this question, and California is not exactly a state that took a more hands-off approach to the pandemic. The county is also in conflict with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which finally updated its guidelines two months ago to reflect the reality that vaccinated people do not need to wear masks.

Los Angeles is somehow being even more restrictive than California Gov. Gavin Newsom or President Joe Biden’s administration. Whether the minor uptick in cases is indicative of a new wave of cases or not is completely irrelevant: There is nothing to suggest that forcing fully vaccinated people to wear masks will help anything. This isn’t about safety; it’s about government officials who don’t want to let go of the “emergency” regulatory powers that the pandemic has granted them.

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"Because of this rapid rise, as well as the increasing presence of the more easily transmitted Delta variant of the virus, and the millions of people potentially at risk of infection, together we must reduce our risk of infection and our risk for potentially infecting others," the department said in a news release.

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