L.A. County to modify indoor masking order

Intensive Care Unit nurse Kathy Brady looks on as Pharmacist, Courtney Mattley, left, draws the first dose of Pfizer BioNTech, Covid-19 vaccine before administering it to Brady at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia on Thursday, 121720. Dan Watson/The Signal

The L.A. County Public Health Department announced Wednesday modifications to the indoor masking order for businesses and establishments for customers and employees, but only if the businesses are verifying vaccination status or negative COVID-19 tests.   

According to a statement issued from the Public Health Department, the changes are set to go into effect starting Friday afternoon and are in response to lower hospitalization rates and the effectiveness of the vaccines in reducing severe illnesses.  

“As the county continues to experience reduced COVID-19 spread, it is appropriate to consider fewer required safety measures, noting that vulnerable individuals should continue to layer in all protections possible,” read the press release. “Given decreased risk, Public Health is modifying the Health Officer Order to allow establishments, businesses, and venues verifying vaccination status to offer optional masking for fully vaccinated individuals.” 

The Public Health Department said businesses, establishments and venues would have two options with the first allowing all customers and workers, ages 5 and older, who are able to provide proof of vaccination before entering, or provide a COVID-19 negative PCR test taken two days before entry or a negative antigen test taken one day before entry.  

Employees will be allowed to submit a negative test result every three days. 

The second option open to L.A. County residents and businesses is allowing fully vaccinated, maskless customers entering businesses with workers who remain masked to verify the same vaccination or test results. 

“Customers that are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear a well-fitting mask while indoors (as required by the state), except when actively eating or drinking,” read the release. “Any individual showing proof of full vaccination prior to entering can still choose to wear a mask indoors.” 

On Wednesday, the Public Health Department, in addition to providing the health order mandate also reported the following numbers for Los Angeles County: 

Countywide COVID-19 cases reported in the past 24 hours: 1,934 

Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 2,787,359 

New deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the past 24 hours: 36 

Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 30,447 

Hospitalizations countywide as of Feb.14: 1,204 

Hospitalizations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as of Feb. 14: 24, with 2,131 discharged since the onset of the pandemic. 

COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley in the past 24 hours: 39, 25 of which came from the city of Santa Clarita 

Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 71,318 

Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV as of Feb. 21: 430 

Santa Clarita Valley % Vaccinated as of Jan. 30: 77.8%  

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