With cases on the rise, LA County likely to move into CDC's 'medium risk' category this week

Health officials said the county is also tracking a jump in cases in retail stores, manufacturing plants and schools.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- You may not need to wear a mask when you're on a plane, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is suggesting you do something else: get tested for COVID-19 as close to the time of your departure as possible or no more than three days before a trip.

The concern is over the rise in new cases and an uptick in hospitalizations.

The latest CDC guidance is to get tested before and after your flight, especially if you've been in high exposure situations.

"I really like that idea," said air traveler Bernice Mentzer of Washington. "I used to be a school teacher. I work with the public. I work with students. I'm always healthy and always wear my mask."

But not everyone agrees with the recommendation.

"I think it's overkill," said Pat Koenig of Los Angeles. "I really do. We've decided not to travel internationally for that reason because you have to get tested. If I have to do it domestically. That's going to hamper even more travel by air, I think."

This new guidance comes as L.A. County health officials reveal a steep rise in new infections, especially among 12- to 17-year-olds and working-age adults.

At Tuesday's L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer predicted the county will likely move into the "medium risk" category later this week.

She warned of what could lie ahead.

"Should the L.A. community level move to high, signifying very high transmission causing stress on the healthcare system, all residents and workers will need to wear their protective masks when they're indoors," Ferrer said.

She said the county is also tracking a jump in cases in retail stores, manufacturing plants and at elementary and high schools.

This as the FDA officially moves to authorize a single booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine for children 5 through 11.

A CDC advisory panel will meet Thursday to review the safety and efficacy data, but if the CDC director gives the green light, boosters for this age group could be available by the end of this week.

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