LACo Continues to Urge Mask Wearing Despite Move to `Low' COVID Category

Surgical mask on white background

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles County has reported 1,184 new COVID-19 infections and 25 virus-related deaths, and officials reminded residents that masks are still strongly recommended indoors despite the county's move to the "low" virus-activity category.

The county moved to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "low" virus-activity category this week, thanks to falling case rates and hospital admission numbers.

"Moving into `low' community level is significant and reflects reduced risk, but it doesn't mean no risk and certainly for those who are more vulnerable, risk remains significant," county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. "Low community level is not a promise, and it doesn't signal the end of the pandemic -- we will have to wait to see how metrics continue to change over the coming weeks. It does show that we know a lot more about COVID-19, including what works and how to effectively use the tools we have. My hope is that people will continue to be smart about navigating life with this virus and that we are truly entering a new phase."

Masks are still required indoors at health-care and congregate-care facilities, for anyone exposed to the virus in the past 10 days, and at businesses where they are required by the owner. They are not required in other locations, but they remain "strongly recommended."

The new COVID infections reported Friday lifted the cumulative total from throughout the pandemic to 3,666,526.

Health officials have stressed that the official number of cases is an undercount, due to the large number of people who rely on at-home tests without reporting the results to the county. Other people don't test at all, despite being possibly infected, officials said.

The 25 new deaths gave the county a cumulative virus-related death toll of 35,104.

According to state figures, there were 844 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Friday, down from 918 Thursday and continuing a downward trend from the past week. Of those patients, 92 were being treated in intensive care units, the same as the previous day.

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