LA County eases some COVID rules as emergency declarations end

With COVID-19-related emergency declarations coming to an end in Los Angeles County at the end of the month, some local health orders prompted by the pandemic are being phased out.

Most notably, the county's rule that people exposed to the virus wear a mask for 10 days will be dropped as of Monday, according to the Department of Public Health. Such mask wearing will be "strongly recommended," but it will no longer be required. Health officials urged that people who are exposed be tested as soon as possible, then test again within 3 to 5 days.

Also starting Monday, people who test positive for the virus must isolate for five days, but may leave isolation after that as long as they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines, and if they have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. A negative test will no longer be required to leave isolation between days six and 10, although health officials strongly recommend that people do so.

People who are infected should wear a mask if they are around others for a total of 10 days, but they can stop wearing a mask after day five if they have received two negative tests taken at least a day apart.

As of April 3, the state is dropping its vaccination requirement for workers at correction, detention and adult-care facilities. The vaccination requirement will remain in place for healthcare workers, who also must wear a mask during patient care and in patient care areas.

RELATED: LA County to lift COVID emergency declarations on March 31

"As we move forward, I share with many others the goal of keeping each other safe and healthy by making sure that critical resources remain available," county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. "Because we now know so much more about COVID-19 -- how it spreads, who is most vulnerable, and how we can prevent severe illness, which can also help decrease the risk for long COVID and help to avoid future health issues that may arise from a COVID infection -- it remains important to work together to keep transmission low."

The county on Friday reported another 11 COVID-19-related deaths, raising the overall death toll to 35,814. A majority of people who die with COVID-19 are elderly or have an underlying health condition such as diabetes, heart disease or hypertension, health officials have said.

RELATED: COVID testing no longer required for unvaccinated LA city employees

Another 1,073 new infections were reported, giving the county a cumulative total from throughout the pandemic of 3,714,353. Daily case numbers released by the county are undercounts of actual virus activity in the county, due to people who use at-home tests and don't report the results, and others who don't test at all.

According to state figures, there were 604 COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals as of Friday, up slightly from 602 on Thursday. Of those patients, 55 were being treated in intensive care units, down from 58 a day earlier.