As Highly Infectious Variants Increase in the County, Masking Indoors Provides Strong Protection Against COVID-19 5,051 New Positive Cases and 10 New Deaths Due to COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

As highly transmissible Omicron sub-lineages dominate across the county, masking is an essential safety measure that residents can use to help protect themselves and others in all indoor settings.

The BA.2 Omicron variant, excluding BA.2 sub-lineages, continues to decrease, and now accounts for only about half of the variants sequenced in the county. In contrast, the even more transmissible BA.2.12.1 sub-lineage accounts for 40% of positive sequenced specimens. Modeling estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict that BA.2.12.1 is now the predominant variant in the U.S, accounting for 59% of sequenced specimens across the country for the week ending May 28.

During this period of significantly elevated case rates, fueled by the proliferation of new highly infectious strains of the virus that evade some of the vaccine protection against transmission, masking indoors provides strong protection against transmission of COVID-19. There is an impressive body of reputable research showing how masking reduces risk for individuals and slows viral transmission in the community.

Two recent studies highlight the effectiveness of masking. The first study looked at masking by people in California during most of 2021. They found the odds of testing positive were 56% lower for people who reported always wearing a mask in indoor public settings compared to those who reported never wearing a mask in those settings. Moreover, the odds of testing positive were 83% lower for people who reported wearing a respirator (like an N95 or KN95) compared to people who reported never wearing a mask.

The second study looked at the effects of masking in Arkansas schools. They found that school districts with universal mask requirements in Fall 2021 had 23% lower COVID-19 case rates among staff and students compared to school districts without mask requirements.

Both these studies reflected the variability in proper masking and the quality of masks used by individuals, and still demonstrated that masks protect both individuals and communities.

As a reminder, masks are required inside healthcare settings, on public transit and at indoor transit hubs, long term care settings, shelters and cooling centers, and correctional facilities. And, employees and customers must wear a mask at any workplaces or venues with required masking. Masking is also required by our LA County Health Officer Order for anyone who is still within 10 days of a COVID diagnosis or exposure when around others.

Both the LA County Health Officer Order and CalOSHA require workplaces to offer masks and respirators to workers. The masks and respirators should be the correct size for the employee, and employees should be given basic instructions on how to achieve the best fit with the mask. As a reminder, all workplaces must allow employees to protect themselves by wearing a mask, even if masking is not required.

There are certain situations in which employers are required to assure masks are being worn.  This includes, at workplaces that have a government-issued mandate to mask, required masking for those within 10 days of a COVID diagnosis or exposure, and masking during workplace outbreaks.

“I send my deepest sympathies and wishes of peace and comfort to the many families who have lost a loved one from COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “With the high transmission of the BA.2.12.1, masking provides a strong defense against viral transmission. Each resident should consider not only their own personal risk, but also the risk to family members, friends, co-workers and those sharing public spaces, as they make decisions about taking precautions such as masking, gathering, getting tested, and getting vaccinated or boosted. In situations where transmission risk is higher, we know with certainty that masking allows us to protect ourselves and those around us. Masking helps protect those in our county who are more vulnerable. We help keep everyone working. And it is a fairly simple way to do our part to help prevent overburdening the healthcare system we all depend on.”

Today, Public Health reported 10 additional deaths and 5,051 new positive cases. Of the 10 new deaths reported today, one person was between the ages of 30-49, four people were between the ages of 65-79, and five were among people aged 80 years or older. Of the 10 newly reported deaths, nine people had underlying health conditions. To date, the total number of deaths in L.A. County is 32,154.

Public Health has reported a total of 2,990,651 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County. Today’s positivity rate is 5.0%.

There are 522 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for more than 12,034,362 individuals, with 22% of people testing positive.

A wide range of data and dashboards on COVID-19 from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health are available on the Public Health website at including:

Always check with trusted sources for the latest accurate information about novel coronavirus:

For more information:


Total Cases

Laboratory Confirmed Cases


— Los Angeles County (excl. LB and Pas)


— Long Beach


— Pasadena




— Los Angeles County (excl. LB and Pas)


— Long Beach


— Pasadena


Age Group (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

– 0 to 4


– 5 to 11


– 12 to 17


– 18 to 29


– 30 to 49


– 50 to 64


– 65 to 79


–  over 80


–  Under Investigation


Gender (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

–  Female


–  Male


–  Other


–  Under Investigation


Race/Ethnicity (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

–  American Indian/Alaska Native


–  Asian


–  Black


–  Hispanic/Latino


–  Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander


–  White


–  Other


–  Under Investigation


Hospitalization (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

–  Hospitalized (Ever)***


Deaths Race/Ethnicity (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

–  American Indian/Alaska Native


–  Asian


–  Black


–  Hispanic/Latino


–  Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander


–  White


–  Other


–  Under Investigation