Pasadena on Tuesday issued an anticipated new health order that directs all employers in Pasadena to provide their employees who work indoors and in close contact with other workers or the public with upgraded face masks and to require them to wear the masks at all times while indoors at work.
The City had said last week it would be issuing the order, which is similar to a mask order issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health last week.
Pasadena’s order will take effect on Jan. 17, the same day as the County order.
It specifically mandates that the masks be well-fitting medical-grade surgical masks or higher-level respirators, such as N95 filtering facepiece respirators or KN95s.
The order applies not just to employees but to on-site contract workers and volunteers.
The masking changes come amid a surge in COVID-19 infections driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the virus.
More than 100 people infected with COVID-19 have been admitted to Huntington Hospital according to the hospital, which lists 14 coronavirus patients in the intensive care unit as of Tuesday.
Seventy-six percent of the total COVID-19-positive patients in the hospital are unvaccinated. Of the 14 patients in the ICU, 86 percent are unvaccinated.
“As we start 2022 year three of pandemic we are presented with a new challenge,” said Pasadena Health Director Dr. Ying-Ying Goh, who said Omicron is three times more infectious than the Delta variant in a report to the City Council on Monday.
During the meeting Goh and Dr. Lori Morgan of Huntington Hospital encouraged people to get vaccinated and get their booster shots.
Although the surge is still extremely concerning, it has been short-lived in some other countries. The duration in the US remains to be seen.
“I’m asking the public to please beware of the urgency of the current situation,” she said.
Pasadena is currently averaging 361 new COVID cases a day up from 33 a day just three weeks ago. About 90 percent of local eligible residents have been vaccinated. Five people have died from the virus in recent weeks.