Orange County, California, a non-mask mandate county, has a lower coronavirus case rate than neighboring Los Angeles County, which enforces mask wearing, a new report found.
The number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people sits at five in Orange County, while Los Angeles County has nine cases per 100,000 people, SFGate reported Monday. The two counties have identical hospitalization rates per 100,000 people, at six cases each. The two counties also have a similar vaccination rate, the outlet reported.
The data comes as the delta variant of the coronavirus winds down in the state, after a handful of counties implemented indoor face mask policies in response to the variant. Los Angeles County was the first in the state to issue a mask mandate in July for all people, after most of California’s previous mask mandates were lifted in June.
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Guidance from Orange County, meanwhile, currently recommends all residents wear masks indoors, while unvaccinated people are required to wear masks indoors, per California Department of Public Health guidance.
SFGATE also found that San Diego County, which has a higher vaccination rate than Orange and Los Angeles counties, also had a higher case rate of the coronavirus than the two other counties. The hospitalization rates for San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange counties, however, show similar figures.
The report comes after California saw some of the strictest lockdown measures last year, with the state continuing strict mandates into 2021.
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California officials announced over the summer that public school students are required to wear masks in class. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom also announced just last week that California would also become the first state in America to require COVID-19 vaccinations for K-12 students, pending full approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
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“The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps and rubella – there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19,” Newsom said in a press release Friday. “Today’s measure, just like our first-in-the-nation school masking and staff vaccination requirements, is about protecting our children and school staff, and keeping them in the classroom.”