California's counties are expected to adopt state guidelines next week and eliminate their indoor masking requirements for vaccinated persons. Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County health director, stated that the state's largest county still has high levels of transmission of the Omicron variant, despite a drop in test positivity, hospitalizations, and case numbers.
Ferrer stated that hospitalizations will remain below 2,500 over the next seven days. Therefore, the county's requirement for outdoor masks for large gatherings is likely be removed next Wednesday.
Ferrer stated that the indoor mask requirement will be maintained until the county has at least two weeks with a rate of 50 cases per 100,000 residents. There are no reports of any new troubling variants. The current rate of cases is 91 per 100,000.
Ferrer stated that if all goes well, we should be able more safely lift indoor masking requirements by March 31st if everything goes according to plan during a briefing on Thursday.
She stated that there is not yet a timetable or metric for ending the requirement to show proof of vaccination in bars, clubs, lounges, and indoor mega events with over 1,000 people.
Ferrer stated, "We know that we are not lifting them anytime soon." These are high-risk situations where people may be in close contact with each other without masks.
Sunday's Super Bowl will be an outdoor mega-event that draws as many as 100,000 people as possible to Los Angeles County's SoFi Stadium. Ferrer advised fans to wear masks while watching the game in bars or restaurants, and not to drink or eat.
If you are hosting a gathering, it is best to be smaller than large. She asked that people gather outdoors if they can.
New rules adopted this week by The Board of Supervisors could see thousands of Los Angeles County employees fired if they haven't been vaccinated. The county's director would be responsible for enforcing the vaccine mandate.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl introduced the motion. She said that the motion was primarily directed at the Sheriff's Department. It has a 54% vaccination rate which is the lowest among county departments.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva has refused to enforce the vaccination mandate among his deputies, staff and officers. He called Tuesday's new rule a suicide pact and stated that it would result in the termination of 4,000 unvaccinated deputy members.
Ferrer stressed Thursday that the most vulnerable to the virus were the unvaccinated. Boosters shots are a great way to protect yourself from serious illness, hospitalization, and even death.