(Patriot.Buzz) – In a new push to reestablish governmental control over American citizens’ lives, Los Angeles County has reinstated a mask mandate for all patients and staff in healthcare facilities as 2024 arrives.
Claiming a significant increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, along with a rise in respiratory illnesses, The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health took measures to allegedly mitigate the spread of the virus.
Although the current figures remain below last winter’s peak, health officials are demanding protections to supposedly help curb transmission and prevent severe illness.
The mandate was triggered as the county’s number of COVID-19 hospital admissions reached the CDC’s “medium level” criteria, which is between 10 and 19.9 new COVID hospital admissions per 100,000 population over a seven-day period. For the week ending December 23, Los Angeles County reported 10.5 new COVID hospital admissions per 100,000 people.
According to the health officer order posted in late December, all healthcare personnel in licensed healthcare facilities that provide inpatient care must wear masks while in contact with patients or working in patient-care areas, regardless of their COVID-19 and influenza vaccination status.
This mandate applies to a wide range of facilities, including general acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities, and others.
Dr. Annie Rimoin, a professor of epidemiology at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, blames the increase in cases on holiday gatherings, a more contagious variant, low immunization rates, and colder weather prompting indoor activities. The masking requirement will remain in effect until the county’s hospital admission levels fall back into the low threshold for at least 14 consecutive days.
Health officials also demanded the population take measures such as staying home when sick, testing for COVID-19, handwashing, and wearing well-fitted, high-quality masks in crowded indoor spaces.
This renewed focus on mask mandates comes as nearly one in four L.A. County residents reportedly fell ill in December, with healthcare providers like Dr. Ali Jamehdor at Dignity Health claiming an unprecedented rise in influenza, RSV, and COVID cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the level of flu-like illnesses, including non-flu viruses such as coronavirus, is considered high across the state.