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LA County Recommends Masks for All When Indoors as Delta Variant Spreads

TUESDAY, June 29, 2021 (Healthday News) -- Regardless of their vaccination status, Los Angeles County residents should wear face masks in indoor public places due to the continuing spread of the Delta coronavirus variant across California, the county's public health department said Monday.

The variant may be twice as transmissible as the original coronavirus.

First identified in India, the Delta variant is now the third-most common in California -- making up 14.5% of coronavirus cases analyzed in June, up from 4.7% in May, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"While COVID-19 vaccine provides very effective protection, preventing hospitalizations and deaths against the Delta variant, the strain is proving to be more transmissible and is expected to become more prevalent," L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Monday.

"Mask wearing remains an effective tool for reducing transmission, especially indoors where the virus may be easily spread through inhalation of aerosols emitted by an infected person," she added.

California has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country. More than 3 in 5 residents have had at least one vaccine dose, but less than half are fully vaccinated, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show.

County health officials asked that "people wear masks indoors in settings such as grocery or retail stores; theaters and family entertainment centers, and workplaces when you don't know everyone's vaccination status."

"Until we better understand how and to who the Delta variant is spreading, everyone should focus on maximum protection with minimum interruption to routine as all businesses operate without other restrictions, like physical distancing and capacity limits," the statement advised.

Of the 123 people in L.A. County confirmed to have been infected with the Delta variant thus far, 110 were unvaccinated and three were partially vaccinated, the Times reported. There were two hospitalizations among people in this group.

Cases involving the variant have been found in 10 fully vaccinated individuals, none of whom ended up needing hospital care.

"For the very small numbers of people that may end up in fact with a breakthrough vaccination case, they really did not have serious illness," Ferrer told theTimes.

At this point, she added, "This is a pandemic of unvaccinated people."

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on masks.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times

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