California easing COVID-19 mask recommendations – Los Angeles Times

by | Sep 21, 2022 | COVID-19

In a new sign of improving coronavirus conditions, California will ease its mask-wearing recommendations for the first time in seven months.The state is largely rescinding its broad recommendation that everyone — regardless of vaccination status — mask up when in indoor public settings and businesses. That guidance had been in place since mid-February.Instead, California will recommend universal mask wearing only when a county’s COVID-19 community level — which indicates rates of new coronavirus-positive hospitalizations — is high.AdvertisementAmong the changes slated to take effect Friday is the end of state-ordered mandatory masking in jails and prisons, homeless shelters, and emergency and cooling centers located in counties with a low COVID-19 community level, as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Placement in that category — which was home to 35 of California’s 58 counties as of early this week — indicates the pandemic is not having a major impact on hospitals. The CDC updates its community level assessments weekly, sorting counties into low, medium or high. Facilities can make their own decisions on mask use, but if an outbreak were to occur, masking would again be required by the state in settings like jails and prisons, shelters and cooling centers, even if the local COVID-19 community level is low, according to the state health order. A county’s presence in the medium or high COVID-19 community level would result in a mask order in those settings.In a statement Wednesday, the L.A. County Department of Public Health said it will align with the state and allow mask orders to end for jails, prisons, shelters and cooling centers starting Friday, unless a coronavirus outbreak is reported at a particular facility. L.A. County is in the low COVID-19 community level. The county also will end its rec …

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