Malibu City Hall resumes face mask mandate amid COVID outbreak

Malibu City Hall this week began requiring the use of face masks amid a spike in COVID-19 infections among employees and a surge in cases across Los Angeles County.

On Friday, the LA County Department of Public Health Malibu announced that “due to the county’s recent spike in COVID-19 cases and resulting positive cases among City Hall employees, Face masks are required at City Hall.”

Malibu City Hall, which has about 85 employees, recorded four positive cases between June 14 and June 27, Malibu media information officer Matt Myerhoff said in a statement to The Times.

“All cases were closed outside of City Hall and not escalated to City Hall staff,” Myerhoff said.

The “occupational case cluster” — a cluster of three or more infections within a two-week period — triggers improved health and safety protocols, including indoor masking, as required by the county and state departments of occupational safety and health .

LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said employers “must implement indoor masking for the entire exposed group of workers. And they must maintain an indoor mask requirement for at least 14 days after the last case in the workplace.”

LA County recorded 301 clusters of construction sites a week ago, up from 251 the week before, Ferrer said.

Malibu City Hall’s mask mandate expired in March as COVID restrictions eased across the county.

The county continues to require masks on public transit, at indoor transportation hubs like airports, in health and long-term care facilities, in correctional facilities, and in emergency shelters and refrigeration centers. The county “strongly recommends” masks in most other indoor public places.

Since March, COVID has been on the rise again with more contagious variants. The health authorities are sounding the alarm.

“All workplaces should be using sensible safety precautions at this time,” Ferrer told reporters last week.

According to Ferrer, the increase in worksite clusters is due to a combination of factors, including fewer masks being used by both employees and customers, increased indoor activity, and employees attending work with COVID symptoms.

The workplace clusters coincide with an overall COVID-19 surge in LA County, which could lead to more mask requirements and other measures.

The county remains at the “intermediate” COVID-19 community level as defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New subvariants of Omicron could lead to increased transmission and hospitalizations, bringing the county to the “high” level “sometime later this summer,” the health department said.

Last week there were 8.1 new coronavirus-positive hospital admissions per 100,000 people, a 56% increase from the previous month, the department said.

If the seven-day total exceeds 10 admissions per 100,000 people and more than 10% of hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, LA County will reach the high community level.

If the county moves to the high level and stays there for two consecutive weeks, it will “enact a universal indoor mask requirement for everyone ages 2 and older … as a safety measure aligned with the CDC framework,” the department said.

The safety measures would remain in effect until the county returns to mid-level and stays there for two weeks.

Statewide, two-thirds of counties are at the high municipal level.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-07-06/malibu-city-hall-requires-face-masks-amid-covid-19-outbreak Malibu City Hall resumes face mask mandate amid COVID outbreak

Alley Einstein

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