Health officials have been warning of a third consecutive winter spike in COVID-19 cases, pointing to the increased risk of transmission as people spend more time indoors due to colder weather and winter holidays.
As the winter season arrives, COVID infection rates have continued to rise sharply since early November, which is why Los Angeles County again “strongly recommended” that people wear masks in all indoor public places.
The recommendation does not meet a mask-wearing mandate, but masks are still required inside health care and mass care facilities, for anyone exposed to the virus in the last 10 days, and where required.
For the past few months, wearing masks indoors has been a matter of personal preference, unless individual businesses or locations decide to require them.
For this reason, the county returned to “strongly recommending” the use of masks indoors on Thursday, when the seven-day local average of new daily COVID infections increased to 100 per 100,000 residents, up from 86 per 100,000 a week ago. The rate for the previous week was 65 per 100,000 inhabitants.
“It is now strongly recommended that everyone wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask in the following settings: in indoor public spaces; when using public transportation, including buses, rideshares, taxis, and medical transportation; penitentiary and detention centers; and homeless and emergency shelters,” Davis said.
The case rate increase reflected the steady increases seen in the number of daily reported cases and hospitalizations since early November.
The county currently has about 1,500 new cases a day, up from 1,300 a day a week ago and a 52% increase since Nov. 1.
Meanwhile, daily COVID-related hospital admissions are averaging 97 a day, up 26% from last week’s 77 a day, and a 54% increase since Nov. 1.
Despite the context, daily virus-related deaths remain relatively low, about eight a day, but Davis said with increases in case and hospitalization rates, that number could start to rise.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.