How close is LA County to a new indoor mask mandate? COVID cases push towards 'high transmission'

It may be the consequence of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, but new COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County continue to rise, according to new data released Monday from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. More than 18,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in LA County between Saturday, July 9 and Monday, July 11. 

Another 39 people in LA County lost their lives due to COVID over the weekend as well. Both numbers are well above totals released last weekend.

According to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, LA County is still a "medium transmission" county, though just barely. The standard for high transmission, defined by the CDC, is 10 new COVID cases per 100,000. LA County currently sits at 9.7 new cases per 100,000. Back on June 28, that number was just 6.6.

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That CDC's data, however, is already nearly a week old, so with the new rise in cases, there is a chance that LA County may have breached high transmission territory. From there, the countdown begins for a renewed indoor mask mandate. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer has said that if the county stays at the high transmission level for two consecutive weeks, it will reimpose a mandatory indoor mask-wearing mandate.

Ferrer told FOX 11 last week a new mandate would help promote equity, especially for essential workers.

"For us, equity issues are paramount. There are many people who are, in particular, essential work environments where they would benefit if more people around them would actually use some of the safety precautions that we know work and that's the case with masking," said Ferrer.

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Ferrer said cases and deaths are increasing.

"Sadly, we've just started to see a slight uptick in deaths as well. This is the first time we're seeing this since the winter surge," said Ferrer. "With more cases, we're obviously seeing more people needing medical attention and not just at our hospitals but emergency departments and urgent care centers that are filled with many folks needing care for their COVID-related illness." 

Some places are being proactive about mandates. The city of Malibu announced last week that masks are again being required inside Malibu City Hall due to surging cases among city staff.

Last week, Ventura County became the first county in Southern California to pass the threshold into the high transmission category, but their leaders announced they will not enact an indoor mask mandate.

City News Service contributed to this report.