LA County health officials are calling for vigilance ahead of Memorial Day weekend as COVID cases rise and school year races draw to a close

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Some schools are asking students to wear masks indoors if they have been informed of an exposure.

It’s part of trying to get through the final exams without too many absentees.

As this school year draws to a close, Los Angeles County health officials said all signs continue to point to a summer COVID-19 surge.

With nearly 900 new cases in the past week alone, UCLA announced it will reinstate its mandate to wear masks indoors for all students, staff and visitors to its campus.

UC Santa Barbara also announced they will require masks in classrooms and other indoor shared spaces on campus starting Friday.

ALSO READ | LA County moves into higher-risk category as COVID cases continue to rise

With two weeks left in the academic year, it’s a move LA County health officials welcome.

“None of us want to see cases continue to rise,” said LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. “None of us want our health care system to be stressed or for more people to get seriously ill.”

She said cases continue to rise across the county, with 6,200 new infections and nine deaths reported as of Thursday.

“As we have seen over the past year, vaccines remain a powerful tool that continues to provide significant protection against hospitalization and death across all racial and ethnic groups,” Ferrer said.

New cases in nursing homes are increasing rapidly and most of the people who end up in hospitals are elderly.

ALSO READ | The public warned against using unlicensed COVID-19 testing sites as cases in LA County soar

As health officials investigate a suspected case of monkeypox in Sacramento, Ferrer said the risks of monkeypox to residents remain very low and that most cases have occurred in adults who have traveled abroad.

“Anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms of monkeypox, particularly the characteristic rash or lesions, should see their doctor for a risk assessment,” she said.

With many people expected to travel for Memorial Day weekend, Ferrer urges vigilance.

“Regardless of how you choose to spend the holiday, we urge you to reduce your chances of catching or spreading COVID-19 by using the protective measures we just discussed…vaccinations, masking, testing and therapeutics” , she said.

Ferrer said 21 outbreaks in skilled care facilities in the last week alone are of great concern.

She reminds us all to wear well-fitting masks when in the midst of large crowds at graduations and other end-of-the-year events.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. LA County health officials are calling for vigilance ahead of Memorial Day weekend as COVID cases rise and school year races draw to a close

Laura Coffey

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