LA County Residents Returning to School, Work After Winter Break Urged to Test for COVID-19, Mask for At Least 10 Days

2,101 New Positive Cases and 24 New Deaths Due to COVID-19 in LA

AMTV/LOS ANGELES,CA, Jan 6 – As schools prepare to reopen after winter break and more people go back to work, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) strongly recommends that returning students and workers test for COVID-19 and wear a mask for at least 10 days to prevent a spike in transmission.

Public Health officials are asking for the community’s help in reducing the chances of another post-holiday surge and limiting the spread of new COVID-19 strains that could gain dominance in Los Angeles County. An increase in infection rates would disproportionately affect people over 50 and people with preexisting medical conditions or who are immunocompromised. All three groups are at higher risk for serious illness and death from COVID-19.

Los Angeles County currently remains in the Medium Community Level, based on its case and hospitalization rates. As people return to school and work after the winter holiday, they may unintentionally expose others to the disease, increasing outbreaks. It can take up to 10 days for a person who has COVID-19 to test positive or display symptoms of infection.

To limit the post-holiday spread of infection, county residents should test before going back to school or work and upon returning, wear a well-fitting, high-filtration mask indoors for at least 10 days, in addition to continuing to mask in indoor public spaces.

Wearing a mask during the 10-day incubation period for COVID-19 can slow transmission of the virus, minimize disruptions to work and learning, protect the people who are most vulnerable, and help make sure hospitals do not become overwhelmed.

In the past, as new COVID-19 strains have gained dominance, as XBB.1.5 is doing in many parts of the United States, there has been a spike in transmission, resulting in increased hospitalizations and deaths, especially among older people.

Older Los Angeles County residents remain the most vulnerable for hospitalization and deaths compared to other age groups. People age 50 and older accounted for the highest rates of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Los Angeles County for the 30-day period that ended Dec. 28. The rates increase with age. Residents who are 80-years-old and older, for example, are three times more likely to be hospitalized and five times more likely to die from COVID-19. Residents ages 65-79 were three times more likely to be hospitalized and six times likely to die than residents ages 50-64. Further, people ages 50-64 were more than five times likely to die than people ages 30-49 (See chart below).

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