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Five So Cal. Counties Affected by New Mask Mandate

July 27, 2021

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — New CDC guidelines recommending people wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, in regions facing high COVID-19 rates likely would affect most of Southern California.

The CDC says the new guidelines should apply to areas experiencing “high” or “substantial” COVID-19 transmission.

In Southern California, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties are all currently listed by the CDC as having “high” transmission rates.

The other SoCal counties – San Bernardino, Kern, Imperial, Ventura, Santa Barbara – are listed just one step lower as having “substantial” transmission.

Los Angeles County has already made the change, well ahead of the CDC update. The county implemented a mask-wearing mandate in indoor public settings for everyone earlier this month, citing spiking cases attributed to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19.

Ventura County earlier this month “strongly recommended” similar rules, asking all community members to wear masks while indoors with other members of the public, regardless of vaccination status.

A San Bernardino County spokesperson said the county has no plans at this time to enact any new local health orders.

A Riverside County health department spokesperson said the county is reviewing the new guidelines and waiting for further recommendations from state officials.

ABC7 has also reached out to Orange County and is awaiting a response.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the change Tuesday, saying the Delta variant “behaves uniquely different from past strains of the virus that cause COVID-19.”

She called rapid spread of the COVID variant “worrisome,” and said its behavior “warrants an update to our recommendations.”

Mask-wearing has remained a requirement indoors across California for unvaccinated people. However, enforcement of the requirement was based largely on the honor system, making it uncertain if unvaccinated residents were abiding by the rule.

City News Service contributed to this report.