Indoor mask tenure in California set to end Feb. 15; The City of Long Beach will keep current mask policies in place

The City of Long Beach will retain current masking policies, per Los Angeles County, but says a roadmap is in place to loosen restrictions when it is safer to do so.

Long Beach, CA – On February 7, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that effective February 16, it will be rescinding policies that were put in place during the Omicron surge, which is now in decline in the state. The City of Long Beach is aligning with Los Angeles County in keeping current masking policies in place, with a roadmap that allows restrictions to be relaxed as soon as it is safer to do so.

In Long Beach, the daily case rate remains high at 105.5 per 100,000 and the positivity rate is 14.9%. The seven-day cumulative rate is 296 per 100,000. These indicators meet the CDC’s definition of “high transmission” – a seven-day cumulative rate of 100 or more cases per 100,000 population or a 10% positivity rate. or more. Currently, 128 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 and the City continues to see deaths almost daily.

The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Department of Health) is reviewing post-surge updates to its masking mandates and setting benchmarks for easing those mandates. It also updates mega-event thresholds to align with state thresholds.

Masking: Once one of these criteria is met, and if there are no emerging reports of new variants of concern circulating significantly that threaten vaccine efficacy, then the city will be aligned with the state and fully vaccinated people will not be required to wear a face covering indoors except in the following contexts:

  • In public transport, including planes, ships, ferries, trains, buses, taxis and carpools) and in transport hubs (examples: airports, bus stations, marinas, train stations, seaports or other ports, or any other area that provides transportation)
  • Indoors at K-12 schools and daycare centers
  • In emergency shelters and cooling and heating centers
  • In the care setting
  • In correctional facilities and detention centers
  • In homeless shelters
  • In long-term care facilities and adult and elderly care facilities

Face coverings will continue to be mandatory for unvaccinated people in indoor public places and businesses, including but not limited to restaurants, retail establishments and family entertainment centers.

Surgical masks or higher level respirators, including N95, KN95 and KF94, with a good fit are recommended in all settings where masking is required.

When COVID-19 in Long Beach cases falls into the CDC’s low transmission category — no more than a seven-day cumulative average of 10 cases per 100,000 and a positivity rate of less than 5% — the requirements in matter of masks could still be lifted.

Mega Indoor Events: The definition of Mega Indoor Events will revert from crowds of 500 to the previous threshold of 5,000. Policies for Mega Indoor Events will not change: Operators must verify full vaccination status or negative result of the COVID-19 viral test before the entry of all participants. Face coverings will continue to be required for all attendees until the City meets the moderate transmission criteria set out by the CDC.

Outdoor Mega Events: The definition of outdoor mega events will drop from a crowd of 5,000 to the previous threshold of 10,000. When hospitalizations in Los Angeles County reach 2,500 or less for seven consecutive days, face coverings will no longer be required at these events. Other policies for outdoor mega events will not change: operators are required to verify full vaccination status or negative COVID-19 virus test prior to entry for all attendees.

Data shows that tightening masking mandates and lowering mega-event thresholds have been helpful in containing the surge. Other contributing factors included an increase in vaccinations and boosters and the public’s willingness to get tested and isolate or quarantine if necessary. New daily cases peaked at 3,070 on January 13 and have steadily declined over the past three weeks.

“We’ve learned a lot since the virus emerged in Long Beach in March 2020,” said city health officer Dr. Anissa Davis. “Omicron’s push necessitated stricter guidelines for mega-events and masking, but even though it was our strongest push yet, we were able to handle it, in large part because people were vaccinated, strengthened and wore their face coverings. As we enter the third year of the pandemic, we will continue to do all we can to maintain normalcy while protecting lives. »

Among the lessons learned from the pandemic is the importance of vaccinations. Since the start of the Omicron surge, people who don’t have up-to-date vaccines have 6.9 times higher hospitalization rates and 7.2 times higher death rates than those who are up-to-date . Vaccines are available for all ages 5 and up, and boosters are available for ages 12 and up. Vaccines are offered free of charge by the Long Beach Health Department six days a week; the program is displayed on longbeach.gov/vaxlb.

It is also important to get tested when in close contact with someone who has, or is suspected of having, COVID-19 when presented with any covid19 symptoms. Masking up in crowded or less ventilated places and staying home when sick can also prevent the virus from spreading.

For the latest information on COVID-19, with details on everything the City of Long Beach is doing to keep our residents safe, visit longbeach.gov/COVID19 and follow @LBHealthDept on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. People can also visit longbeach.gov/COVID19data for up-to-date information on cases and vaccines.

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