Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Friday that his department would not spend the resources to enforce an indoor mask mandate in the county, adding that the measure “was not supported by science.”
“Forcing the vaccinated and those who have already contracted COVID-19 to wear masks indoors is not supported by science and contradicts the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines,” Villanueva said in a statement.
He said that while the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) had the authority to enforce its mandate, “the underfunded / underfunded Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not spend our limited resources and instead will ask for voluntary compliance. “
“We encourage DPH to work collaboratively with the Board of Supervisors and law enforcement to establish mandates that are achievable and supported by science,” he added.
On Thursday, the county Department of Public Health issued an indoor mask mandate, a measure that applies to everyone, regardless of their vaccination status.
The department said the mandate for indoor masks was justified because the county saw a seven-fold increase in the number of COVID-19 cases between the county’s reopening on June 15 and Thursday.
According to department data, the county saw 210 new cases on June 15 compared to 1,537 new cases on Thursday, the highest number on record since mid-March.
“Due to this rapid increase, as well as the increasing presence of the more easily transmitted Delta variant of the virus, and the millions of people potentially at risk of infection, together we must reduce our risk of infection and our risk of infecting. potentially to others. , “The Department saying in a press release.
The mandate goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, about a month since the county had lifted a previous mask mandate.
The recent announcement comes as unvaccinated areas of the United States are experiencing an increase in cases due to the highly communicable delta variant originally found in India.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 56 percent of the total US population has received at least one dose of the vaccine and 48 percent are fully vaccinated.
CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyNight Defense: Milley Reportedly Warned Trump Against Iran Strikes | Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer Killed in Afghanistan | 70 Percent of Active Duty Military At Least Partially Vaccinated Overnight Medical Care: CDC Director Warns of ‘Unvaccinated Pandemic’ | Biden Says Social Media Platforms “Kill People” | Florida accounts for 20 percent of new Biden cases: social media platforms ‘kill people’ MORE He maintained that the agency would not change its masking recommendations, but said on Friday that local officials were encouraged to consider preventive measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“These decisions must be made at the local level,” Walensky said during a briefing at the White House. “If you have areas of low vaccination and high case rates, then I would say that local legislators could consider whether masking at that point would be something that would be helpful to their community until they increase their vaccination rates.”
In its current form, the CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people not have to wear masks in most settings, except in travel spaces like planes and trains.
The Hill has contacted the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health for comment.