LOS ANGELES, CA — Well being officers in Los Angeles County issued a brand new order requiring employers to offer upgraded masks to staff who work indoors in shut contact with others.
It is amongst a handful of recent measures designed to stem the tide of Omicron-fueled coronavirus outbreaks, which proceed to contaminate greater than 20,000 individuals every day in Los Angeles County. The county on Wednesday reported one other 26,754 circumstances and 27 deaths.
The measures comply with an avalanche of occasion cancelations and postponements prompted by the surge in circumstances. Additionally on Wednesday, state officers prolonged indoor masks mandate one more month to Feb. 17, and the CDC beneficial booster photographs for youngsters 12 and older.
The county’s new masks order, which can take impact Jan. 17, requires employers to offer affected employees with “well-fitting medical grade masks, surgical masks, or higher-level respirators, corresponding to N95 or KN95 masks.”
The revised order additionally amended the definition of out of doors “mega occasions,” the place masking is required, to five,000 or extra attendees; and the definition of indoor “mega” occasions to 500 or extra individuals. The numbers align with these within the state’s well being order. The county’s order additionally “recommends” that foods and drinks be consumed solely in designated eating areas.
“Given the explosive unfold of the virus, actions that put us in shut contact with many different individuals now have an elevated threat,” county Public Well being Director Barbara Ferrer mentioned in an announcement. “As such, everybody must be smart about tips on how to shield themselves and people they love by layering on protections every time round non-household members.
“At work, this implies upgrading your masks when you work indoors and you’re in touch with different employees or members of the general public. At leisure venues, this implies limiting the time you spend with out sporting your upgraded masks. And for different actions, this may increasingly imply suspending your participation till neighborhood transmission is far lowered.”
The upgraded masks requirement for county workplaces mirrors an order launched late final week by the county for Ok-12 faculties, requiring lecturers and workers to put on higher-grade face coverings. USC introduced this week it can require all college students and workers to put on higher-grade masks when in-person courses resume.
The adjustments come amid a surge in COVID-19 infections pushed by the extremely transmissible Omicron variant of the virus.
One other 27 COVID deaths had been additionally reported, giving the county an general loss of life toll of 27,698.
The typical each day fee of individuals testing optimistic for the virus was 22.4% as of Wednesday. That fee was beneath 1% a month in the past.
In line with state figures, there have been 2,461 COVID-positive sufferers in Los Angeles County hospitals as of Wednesday, up from 2,240 on Tuesday. The variety of these sufferers in intensive care was 330, up from 303 a day earlier.
California Well being and Human Companies Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly mentioned Wednesday the state is working with hospitals to get a greater understanding of what number of COVID-positive sufferers had been admitted to hospitals as a result of they had been sick from the virus, and what number of had been solely recognized after being admitted for different causes.
Dr. Christina Ghaly, Los Angeles County’s well being companies director and the spouse of Mark Ghaly, informed the Los Angeles Occasions this week that about two- thirds of the COVID-positive sufferers on the 4 county-operated hospitals had been admitted for one thing apart from COVID.
Mark Ghaly mentioned whatever the approach by which COVID sufferers had been detected, the general hospitalization numbers within the state stay regarding. The entire variety of sufferers within the state — each COVID and non-COVID — was about 51,000 as of Wednesday morning, rivaling the 53,000 peak seen throughout final winter’s surge.
In Los Angeles County, COVID hospitalization numbers peaked at about 8,000 throughout final winter’s surge. Consultants have recommended that whereas the Omicron variant is extra infectious, it could result in much less extreme sickness, a minimum of amongst individuals who have been absolutely vaccinated and obtained a booster shot.
With much less extreme sickness and the advantage of vaccines, hospital officers have maintained hope that the present surge of circumstances won’t result in the identical strain on medical facilities as final winter.
In line with county figures launched final week, of the greater than 6.3 million absolutely vaccinated individuals within the county, 127,172 have examined optimistic for the virus, for a fee of two%, whereas 3,094 have been hospitalized, for a fee of 0.05%. A complete of 602 absolutely vaccinated individuals have died, for a fee of 0.01%.
General, 79% of eligible county residents aged 5 and older have obtained a minimum of one dose of vaccine, whereas 71% are absolutely vaccinated. Of the county’s general inhabitants of 10.3 million individuals, 75% have obtained a minimum of one dose, and 67% are absolutely vaccinated.
The bottom vaccination fee is amongst kids aged 5-11 — the newest age group to change into eligible for the photographs.
Metropolis Information Service and Patch Staffer Paige Austin contributed to this report.
This text initially appeared on the Los Angeles Patch