The CDC advises residents in the vast majority of California’s 58 counties to wear masks. This is because neighborhoods with “High” Covid levels have been classified in 40 of those counties. In less than a month, there were 13.
However, it is up to local health officials, not the CDC, to decide whether or not to reinstate the requirement for facial coverings. The CDC’s advice is merely a strong suggestion.
Twenty million people live in the aforementioned counties, which also include Ventura, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Sacramento, and Fresno.
Los Angeles, the area with the highest population in the state, is not included on the list, but that may change in the future.
According to L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer yesterday, “With our increased case rates and the hospital admission rates going up, we do have fresh worries about the impact of Covid and it’s more possible now that we might make it into that High community level sometime this summer.” According to Ferrer, based on hospital admissions, the most recent forecasts indicate that Los Angeles will cross that level on July 19. The graph is below.
Ferrer has asserted time and time again that the public health administration, which does have the jurisdiction to reinstate a mask mandate, would do so if the county of 10 million people were to enter the High community level and stay there for two weeks.
The number of cases in the state is increasing and is currently at the same level as it was on December 20 of last winter, during the first Omicron wave: almost 15,000 cases per day. However, experts claim that number is almost probably an underestimate since it excludes the outcomes from over-the-counter testing, which are now considerably more common.
The state’s test positivity percentage, which is currently 14.8 percent, is more concerning. That’s an increase of 18% over the past week, which is a significant increase for a percentage averaged over seven days to smooth out data bottlenecks. The current test positivity is rising toward the winter apex of 22.5 percent and has already surpassed the summer’s peak.
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Even Covid-related hospitalizations, which in the spring bottomed off at around 1,000 for several weeks, have started to drastically increase once more, reaching close to 3,500.
With two new, more transmissible varieties in BA.4 and BA.5, as well as a long holiday weekend approaching, Ferrer warned that given the current situation, “everything of the information to date leads to the necessity for us to prepare for the potential of considerable transmission in the future weeks.”