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Los Angeles County health director won't rule out mask mandate as she warns of COVID outbreaks: ''Ever' is not a word I'm comfortable with'
Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Los Angeles County health director won't rule out mask mandate as she warns of COVID outbreaks: ''Ever' is not a word I'm comfortable with'

The Los Angeles County health director in California said that "ever" is not a word she is willing use in reference to future mask mandates, warning that while masking is not a requirement currently, it is up to the individual as cases rise.

Wearing a mask as she stood alone, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer delivered remarks about potential masking during a media briefing.

As Newsweek reported, Ferrer noted during the press event that COVID-19 cases have been on the rise in the county and that cases had doubled over the past week.

"[If] there's a lot of spread or a potential for a lot of spread, masks are generally required," Ferren said. "I would say because we've had many more outbreaks at other periods of time — a higher number of outbreaks — those have been times where many more places have been told that their employees have to mask."

"I will say [masking is] a reasonable request, it usually lasts until we close the outbreak in general, 14-21 days out we stop seeing cases," she added.

The health director was then asked by a media member about wearing masks in schools and if there would ever be mandatory masking.

"At this point, when should people wear masks in schools and is it ever mandatory?" the journalist asked.

"'Ever' is not a word I'm comfortable with," Ferrer replied. "Everyone knows that I think by now that there's no place with that level of certainty with this pandemic."

"I'm not going to say there's never going to be a time where we might need to all put our masks back on," she then explained. "I am going to say we certainly don't all need to put our masks back on now."

"We are in a space where people assess their own risk or the risk of their family members," the health director concluded.

According to public health data , Los Angeles County is averaging 571 COVID-19 cases per week and one death.

Since February 2022, more than half of all hospitalized COVID cases in Los Angeles County have been discovered by "incidental" detection, meaning the patient came to the hospital for a different reason.

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