LA County moves out of high COVID-19 level as surge eases

August 12, 2022 GMT
FILE - In this March, 12, 2020, file photo, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer takes questions at a news conference in Los Angeles. Los Angeles County has dropped out of the high COVID-19 community level under federal guidelines, as infections and rates of hospitalizations continue to fall. Ferrer said Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, that while trends are encouraging, "there are still thousands of new people each day who are infected and therefore capable of infecting others." (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
FILE - In this March, 12, 2020, file photo, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer takes questions at a news conference in Los Angeles. Los Angeles County has dropped out of the high COVID-19 community level under federal guidelines, as infections and rates of hospitalizations continue to fall. Ferrer said Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, that while trends are encouraging, "there are still thousands of new people each day who are infected and therefore capable of infecting others." (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
FILE - In this March, 12, 2020, file photo, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer takes questions at a news conference in Los Angeles. Los Angeles County has dropped out of the high COVID-19 community level under federal guidelines, as infections and rates of hospitalizations continue to fall. Ferrer said Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, that while trends are encouraging, "there are still thousands of new people each day who are infected and therefore capable of infecting others." (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
FILE - In this March, 12, 2020, file photo, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer takes questions at a news conference in Los Angeles. Los Angeles County has dropped out of the high COVID-19 community level under federal guidelines, as infections and rates of hospitalizations continue to fall. Ferrer said Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, that while trends are encouraging, "there are still thousands of new people each day who are infected and therefore capable of infecting others." (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
FILE - In this March, 12, 2020, file photo, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer takes questions at a news conference in Los Angeles. Los Angeles County has dropped out of the high COVID-19 community level under federal guidelines, as infections and rates of hospitalizations continue to fall. Ferrer said Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, that while trends are encouraging, "there are still thousands of new people each day who are infected and therefore capable of infecting others." (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County has dropped out of the high COVID-19 community level under federal guidelines, as infections and rates of hospitalizations continue to fall, a top health official said Thursday.

The move to the medium tier under criteria set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes two weeks after the nation’s most populous county dropped a plan to impose a universal indoor mask mandate as the latest coronavirus surge eased.

LA County health director Barbara Ferrer said Thursday that while trends are encouraging, “there are still thousands of new people each day who are infected and therefore capable of infecting others.” She reminded residents that face coverings remain an effective tool to reduce spread.

Ferrer said late last month that virus transmission began dropping fairly steadily starting around July 23, with hospitalization rates also falling.

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She maintained that health officials would reassess a potential mask mandate should case rates and hospital admissions spike again.

As it has for most of the pandemic, LA County still requires masks in some indoor spaces, including health care facilities, Metro trains and buses, airports, jails and homeless shelters.