Long Beach will again require masks, joining L.A. County

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Men wearing facemasks ride a scooter and a bike near a notice about maintaining social distance on the beach in Long Beach on July 14, 2020. (APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)

Men wearing facemasks ride a scooter and a bike near a notice about maintaining social distance on the beach in Long Beach on July 14, 2020. (APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)

COVID-19 cases are up nearly 300% in Long Beach this month, and city officials are aligning with Los Angeles County in requiring masking indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

Details on the exact wording and timing of Long Beach’s mask requirement “will be available soon,” city officials said in a news release Thursday evening.

Los Angeles County officials announced the return of the mask mandate on Thursday amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections, including more than 1,000 new cases on each of the past five days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not implemented a nationwide mask mandate, though CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky called the situation in the U.S. a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Long Beach, which has its own health department, has a case rate of 7.5 per 100,000 residents as of Thursday, up from less than one in 100,000 a month earlier, according to statements from city officials. The average number of new cases has risen from 17 to 66.

The CDC also lists Long Beach as an area of “substantial” virus transmission, along with the rest of Los Angeles County, with the recent rise of the more-transmissible delta variant.

“Whereas the average person with the original strain of COVID-19 would infect 2.5 others, on average, in the same environment, a person infected with the delta variant could infect nearly seven other people,” Long Beach officials said in a statement.

City officials continue to urge vaccinations, as most new cases come from people who have not been vaccinated. Of the 14 Long Beach residents who are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19, 12 are unvaccinated.

City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis pointed out that “no vaccine works 100%,” but the vaccines are still vital tools in the fight against COVID-19.

“The reason why we’re seeing cases of COVID-19 in vaccinated people isn’t because the vaccine doesn’t work. It’s because there’s just so much of it around in the community,” Davis said.

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