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COVID-19 Roundup: Local Infection Rate Stays Low, Mask Confusion Abounds and Pasadena Vaccinates First Wave of 12- to 15-Year-Olds

Published on Monday, May 17, 2021 | 5:55 am

There were several major pandemic developments in recent days, among them the most important local news was the continuing trend of no new COVID-related deaths and few new cases. City officials on Sunday reported only five additional COVID-19 cases and no fatalities.

The new numbers bring the city’s case count to 11,273 infections with 664 deaths.

Last Thursday’s release of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saying people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can largely stop wearing masks in most indoor and outdoor situations set off confusion, since many states and local jurisdictions — including Pasadena Los Angeles County — still have mask requirements in place. The CDC only releases general guidance, but individual jurisdictions can impose restrictions based on local virus circumstances.

L.A. County requirements allow fully vaccinated residents to shed masks while indoors with other fully vaccinated people. But mask mandates remain in place for everyone working at or patronizing businesses — such as grocery stores, restaurants or retail shops.

The state and county were reviewing the new CDC guidance, but changes in local regulations were unlikely to occur for at least another week. A county health official said the mask mandates remain in place largely to protect workers and customers at worksites, and state occupational health and safety regulators need to set policy for masking and social distancing in the workplace.

Supermarket chains including Trader Joe’s, Costco and Walmart have dropped the mask requirement for fully vaccinated customers, though store officials said they will not be asking for proof of vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccinations efforts expanded last week to include youth aged 12-15. Most providers in the county began offering shots to that age group. Pasadena has started those vaccinations.

Vaccinations are now available appointment-free at most sites in the county.

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