LA County Courts to lift mask mandate on April 4
The Los Angeles County Superior Court will end its mask mandate for courthouses beginning April 4, following similar actions taken in recent weeks by county and state public health officials. .
“Since the winter surge of COVID-19 peaked in LA County in mid-January, [the L.A. County Department of Public Health] indicates that “case and test positivity rates and hospitalizations have steadily declined,” Presiding Judge Eric Taylor said in a statement. “These benchmarks have guided the court’s measured approach during the pandemic.”
After warrant expiration, the court will still recommend the use of masks indoors in accordance with public health guidelines and “remain vigilant in monitoring emerging viral threats,” Taylor said.
The county court system delayed criminal trial start dates in January in response to a coronavirus surge caused by the highly infectious variant of Omicron.
In late February, after California lifted its universal mask mandate for indoor public places, Taylor noted “encouraging signs that the winter surge has subsided,” but said “the court will remain vigilant to provide access safe to justice in the nation’s largest trial court. ”
The Superior Court had retained its mandate for all people even after the county followed the state in relaxing the requirements.
On March 4, LA County dropped its indoor mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status, after data showed the county’s coronavirus community level had fallen to “low,” according to new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
After March 11, the county aligned itself with California’s decision to remove the masking requirement for schools, and the Los Angeles Unified School District followed suit Wednesday after reaching an agreement with the union of teachers.
Yet as cases of an Omicron coronavirus subvariant known as BA.2 continue to rise in LA County, public health officials are urging residents to mask up despite expired warrants.
“Along with the increasing circulation of the more infectious BA.2 subvariant, everyone, especially those who are at high risk or live with someone at high risk, should wear a high quality mask and get vaccinated and strengthen,” LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Thursday.
BA.2 is thought to be 30% to 60% more contagious than an earlier Omicron subvariant, but does not appear to cause more severe disease.