A statement from the desk of Los Angeles County Sheriff, Alex Villanueva, says it will not support The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s (DPH) updated order requiring everyone to wear masks indoors despite being vaccinated. L.A. sheriffs state that forcing the vaccinated and those who already contracted COVID-19 to wear masks indoors is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department will instead ask for voluntary compliance.
The full statement buy Sheriff Villanueva reads as follows:
“Forcing the vaccinated and those who already contracted COVID-19 to wear masks indoors is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has authority to enforce the order, but the underfunded/defunded Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not expend our limited resources and instead ask for voluntary compliance. We encourage the DPH to work collaboratively with the Board of Supervisors and law enforcement to establish mandates that are both achievable and supported by science.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva”
The statement was released hours after the City of West Hollywood released a statement getting the word out that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health modified its Health Officer Order to require masking for everyone while indoors at public settings and businesses, regardless of vaccination status.
Los Angeles County requirements to wear masks indoors for everyone will be effective Saturday, July 17 at 11:59 p.m. This requirement includes the City of West Hollywood. Some exceptions will apply, as with masking requirements that were in place prior to the June 15 reopening. The modified Health Officer Order will be posted on the LA County Public Health website on Friday, July 16, 2021. For additional details and specifics, please visit the LA County Public Health website at http://ph.lacounty.gov/media/coronavirus — the order and any updated Appendices will be posted as they become available.
Community transmission of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County has rapidly increased from Moderate to Substantial. According to an LA County Public Health statement issued on Wednesday, July 15, 2021: “Los Angeles County [has seen] more than a seven-times increase in new cases since the June 15 reopening. Wearing a mask when indoors reduces the risk of both getting and transmitting the virus. This additional layer of protection can help to slow the spread and does not limit business occupancy and operations.”
On Thursday, July 15, 2021, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed the highest number of new COVID-19 cases since mid-March 2021 with 1,537 new cases and a test positivity rate of 3.7 percent. For comparison, one month ago on June 15, which was the day of full reopening at the State and County level, Los Angeles County saw just 210 new cases and a test positivity rate of 0.5 percent.
Emerging data affirms that fully vaccinated people are well protected from severe infections with Delta variants, but people who have received only one dose of a two-dose vaccine (such as Pfizer or Moderna) are not as well protected until after they have received a second dose. There is evidence that individuals who have received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine are well protected. However, there is evidence, as well, that a very small number of fully vaccinated individuals can become infected. From June 27 to July 3, the percentage of sequenced Delta variants 71 percent of all sequences collected that week. In addition, given that approximately 4 million residents in Los Angeles County are not yet fully vaccinated, the risk of increased community spread remains high.
Health officials urge all people to get vaccinated. Residents ages 12 and older with internet access are urged to use www.VaccinateLACounty.com to sign up for a vaccination appointment. For people without access to a computer or the Internet, or people with disabilities, an LA County call center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. to help schedule appointments at (833) 540-0473.
Additional information, such as links to West Hollywood-area drug store chains offering vaccinations, is available on the City of West Hollywood’s website at www.weho.org/coronavirus in the Vaccines and Testing Information section.
Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks or more after they have received the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks or more after they have received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.