LA County ends quarantines for most asymptomatic people exposed to COVID

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Tuesday, April 19, 2022
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A federal judge in Florida struck down a national mask mandate on airplanes and mass transit, and airlines and airports swiftly began repealing their requirements that passengers wear face coverings.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County health officials have updated quarantine rules for people exposed to COVID-19 and who are asymptomatic.

Under the order revised Friday, people who had close contact with a virus patient but are not showing any symptoms and do not live or work in a "high-risk setting" are not required to quarantine. However, those people should wear a high-quality mask when indoors around others for at least 10 days from their last exposure. They should also be tested for COVID as soon as possible.

"After reviewing the California Department of Public Health's updated quarantine guidance, we elected to generally align our Public Health Emergency Quarantine Order with the guidance, with a key exception," county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. "With increased circulation of the highly transmissible BA.2 subvariant, and indications that those infected with BA.2 are more likely to be asymptomatic, Public Health requires, rather than recommends, that close contacts who are exempted from quarantine mask indoors for 10 days and test as soon as possible."

The change to the quarantine order is regardless of vaccination status or recent history with a prior infection.

California state health officials last week said asymptomatic people who are exposed to COVID-19 do not need to quarantine anymore. Previously, anyone who was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 had to quarantine for five days, even if they did not show symptoms.

California health officials: Asymptomatic people exposed to COVID don't need to quarantine

Despite the BA.2 variant leading to a rise in COVID-19 cases nationwide, health officials say fewer people are hospitalized for COVID that at any time since the start of the pandemic

Meanwhile, masking rules are changing on a national level after a federal judge in Florida struck down the mask mandate covering airlines and other public transportation Monday. The Biden administration said the rule would not be enforced while federal agencies decide how to respond to the judge's order.

United Airlines said effective immediately masks are no longer required on its domestic flights and select international flights. Masks are also optional at U.S. airports.

RELATED: Florida judge voids US COVID-19 mask mandate for planes, public transportation

A federal judge in Florida has voided the U.S. mask mandate covering planes and public transportation as health officials exceeding their authority. Reena Roy has more.

The White House called the federal judge's decision disappointing and says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend wearing masks on public transportation.

The L.A. Metropolitan Transit Authority said it will continue to require mask use on public transportation through May 3.

Metrolink announced masks will not be required on trains and stations after the Transportation Security Administration said it would stop enforcing the Biden administration's rule mandating masks on planes, trains and other forms of public transportation.

At schools, L.A. Unified School District officials asked students to test at home with district-provided kits before resuming classes Monday after a weeklong break.

For the first time since January, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported a notable increase in COVID-19 infection rates among children.