Indoor mask mandate may return if LA County reaches high COVID transmission, Ferrer says

Los Angeles County may once again bring back the indoor mask mandate.

According to Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, if the county reaches the CDC's high transmission and hospitalization categories, masking may be required indoors – again.

According to the LA County Public Health's new COVID-19 numbers from Wednesday, Dec. 1, the county reports 4,493 new cases, 1,164 new hospitalizations and 14 new deaths.

As of Thursday evening, LA County's community transmission level stands at medium, with the case rate of 165.3 per 100,000 people; new COVID-19 hospitalizations of 11.9 per 100,000 people and 5.6% of staffed inpatient beds being used by COVID-19 patients, according to data from the CDC. For a county to reach the high transmission category, the threshold kicks in once it reaches more than 10 new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 people if the county sees more than 200 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, CDC says.

Thursday's announcement comes days after health officials strongly recommended – but not required – indoor masking. Over the last several months, indoor masking had been optional, unless businesses asked customers and/or clients to wear them inside.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: LA County returns to 'strongly recommending' masks indoors as COVID cases rise

LA County had also lifted mask requirements for public transit on September 2022. That could change if the indoor masking mandate returns to the county.