According to Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, LA County COVID metrics are on trend to reach the CDC’s high community transmission level by the end of June, which would trigger the return of an indoor mask mandate.

If a community’s seven day case rate is above 200 new cases per 100,000 people, the CDC’s high level of transmission is reached when the seven day COVID hospital admissions rate hits ten admissions per 100,000 people. In LA County, the seven day case rate is currently 321 new cases per 100,000 people and the hospitalization rate is 5.2 admissions per 100,000 people. 

“If we continue on the current trajectory… we’re likely to move into the CDC high community level within a few weeks towards the end of June,” said Ferrer, later adding “LA County is poised to, you know, align fully with the CDC recommendation that if a County finds itself at that high community level, they go ahead and require folks to wear those masks when they’re indoors.”

This projection is based on case numbers and hospital admissions continuing to increase at the same rate exhibited over the last two weeks, which is not a set outcome. 

“There is no certainty with this date,” said Ferrer. “Actual hospital admission rates could increase at a faster rate or, if case numbers stabilize or decrease in the next two weeks, the rate of increase in hospitalizations could be a lot lower.”

In better news, COVID death rates are not on the rise even as case rates and hospitalizations rates continue to increase. Nevertheless, a significant increase in COVID hospitalizations can still create strain on the healthcare system, which is the logic behind the potential return of an indoor mask mandate. 

While seven day average daily hospitalizations are currently at about 480, compared to 240 last month, average deaths remain stable at around six to seven a day. Average weekly case rates have increased from 280 new cases per 100,000 people last week to 321 new cases per 100,000 people this week. 

The County of Alameda is about to enter the high transmission level and health officials announced on Thursday that, beginning June 3, Alameda will be reinstating its mask mandate in most indoor settings with the notable exception of K-12 schools. 

“We again applaud Alameda County, as we do all counties that are being proactive on making sure that they’re looking at their community data and making decisions that offer the maximum protection particularly for those people most vulnerable, which we all know, includes people living in some of our hardest hit communities, communities with high rates of poverty, and communities that have large numbers of people who are Black, Latinx and indigenous,” Ferrer. 

In order to limit the spread of COVID and potentially stave off the return of an indoor mask mandate in LA County, Ferrer encouraged residents to mask up in crowded indoor spaces and make sure they are up to date with their vaccine boosters.