CDC eases mask restrictions for vaccinated people

SIGNAL FILE PHOTO: Gideon Fajardo, left, and his daughters Melody, 12, and Natalie ,10, wear their masks as they prepare to fly their kite at Central Park in Saugus on Friday, Jan. 8, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday fully vaccinated Americans can stop wearing masks or maintaining physical distance in most indoor and outdoor settings.

As of Thursday, CDC guidelines state that “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer confirmed that the department would be working closely with the state to find ways to implement this new advice safely.

Changes to the county’s public health order are not expected to be made until Cal/OSHA, the state’s workplace safety agency, releases its requirements, as Ferrer noted it’s important to continue protecting workers, particularly those in essential work environments.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky added during a White House COVID-19 briefing that there are some caveats, with mask mandates continuing for doctor, hospital or nursing home visits; when traveling by bus, plane, train or other modes of public transportation; or while in airports and bus stations, for example.

“I think it really is important for people who are not yet vaccinated to go ahead and continue to mask and continue to keep their distance from others so that they don’t, in fact, become infected,” Ferrer added. “We still have millions of people that are not vaccinated, that haven’t even gotten one dose, and every day, the numbers may be small, but every day, there are new people getting infected, so just as a reminder, you can still get infected.”

Those who are immunocompromised should speak with their doctors before unmasking, while fully vaccinated people who develop symptoms should still use masks and get tested, Walensky said.

Public Health also released the following updated COVID-19 statistics Thursday:

New COVID-19 cases reported in L.A. County in the past 24 hours: 284

Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 1,236,456

New deaths related to COVID-19 reported: 17

Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 24,057

Hospitalizations countywide: 375; 22% of which are in the ICU.

Hospitalizations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as of May 10: 4, with 1,229 discharged since the onset of the pandemic.

COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley in the past 24 hours: 11, 8 of which came from the city of Santa Clarita.

Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 27,749

Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV as of May 12: 303

Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the city of Santa Clarita as of May 2: 58.6%

Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the SCV as of May 2: 56%

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