Los Angeles (KABC)—— Los Angeles County health officials want residents to cooperate with a new plan after New Year’s Eve to avoid a spike in COVID-19 cases.
After the surge in cases and hospitalizations after the Thanksgiving holiday, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer asked residents to temporarily wear masks when indoors with others.
“Wearing masks for ten days and getting as many people back to school and work as possible can slow transmission and minimize disruption to work and school,” she said. “Protecting those who are most vulnerable helps ensure that hospitals do not would be overwhelmed.”
Ten days is the incubation period of the virus.
Ferrer said other big cities like New York and Boston are trying the tactic, but wearing a mask at a large celebration is smart, even outdoors.
“Just like in the Rose Bowl parade, keep wearing the mask,” Ferrer said. “While you’re really close to other people, it’s not a huge inconvenience and it does help.”
The seven-day average of new cases is now down 13% since last week. Reported deaths fell to an average of 15 a day from 21 a day last week, but hospitalizations are starting to rise after a month-long decline.
“As you can see, the number of hospital admissions is no longer declining. It’s been an average of 192 admissions per day over the past week,” Ferrer said.
This is a slight increase compared to last week’s average of 178 per day.
“The surge in cases after the holidays will likely bring us back to higher community levels in January,” Ferrer said.
This New Years, Ferrer urged residents to test themselves before gathering with others.
“I’m getting questions from people about how to get a test kit, and I hope that with these precautions, we can continue to really protect each other,” Ferrer said.
Requiring masks to be worn in schools and workplaces after winter break is not a requirement, but a recommendation.
However, Ferrer hopes people will observe the high levels of transmission of COVID-19 and influenza.
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