Suzanne Guldimann is the editor of the Topanga New Times, and also TNT’s resident naturalist. She was recently asked to give a talk on being…
Los Angeles County has finally arrived at “Low Community Risk Level” for COVID-19, but even as the County Department of Public Health relaxes its mask wearing requirements, public health officials continue to urge residents to keep wearing masks, and to get vaccinated, if possible. Although the numbers have dropped dramatically, there were still 1,427 new positive cases of COVID-19 and 47 new deaths in Los Angeles County on March 4, the day the county’s press release was issued.
Under the modified order, indoor masking is now strongly recommended, but not required, for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in public settings and businesses, except in high-risk settings where federal or state regulations continue to require masking.
Mask requirements for public schools have remained in place, but will be relaxed on March 12, for vaccinated and unvaccinated students, staff, teachers, and visitors, but they remain “strongly recommended.”
The settings where masking continues to be required also include public transit, transportation hubs, all health care settings (including long term care and adult and senior care facilities), correctional and detention facilities, homeless shelters, heating and cooling centers, and emergency shelters.
And at all sites where masking indoors is no longer mandatory, employers will still be required to offer, for voluntary use, medical grade masks and respirators to employees working indoors in close contact with other workers, customers and/or members of the public.
The Health Department is encouraging all residents to continue to assess their personal and family risks and to consider continuing to mask up if there are individuals in the household who have underlying health conditions that create elevated risk for severe illness from COVID, unvaccinated family members including young children not yet eligible for vaccines, and anyone in the household who works in a setting with vulnerable individuals at elevated risk of severe illness from COVID.
The modified Health Officer Order also updates requirements for pre-entry vaccination or negative test verifications. Vaccine verification in health care and congregate care settings is still required. Pre-entry vaccine verification also remains required for entry to indoor mega events, with a negative test result as a substitute for those not fully vaccinated. Pre-entry vaccine verification, or verification of a negative COVID-19 viral test, is now strongly recommended, but no longer required, at outdoor mega events and indoor portions of bars, nightclubs, and lounges.
Public Health has reported a total of 2,802,123 cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County over the course of the pandemic, including 2711 in the Unincorporated portion of the Santa Monica Mountains, including Topanga. The positivity rate is currently 1.2 percent. A wide range of data and dashboards on COVID-19 from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health are available on the Public Health website at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov
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