L.A. County to Require People to Wear Masks Indoors Again — Even If They've Been Fully Vaccinated
The updated requirements will take effect on Saturday, July 17 at 11:59 p.m
Los Angeles County is reissuing a mandate that will require individuals to wear masks while indoors, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status.
On Thursday, exactly one month after it dropped its mask mandate, the county announced that masks will once again be required for "everyone while indoors" as the location "sees more than a seven-times increase in new cases since the June 15 reopening."
The updated requirements will take effect on Saturday, July 17 at 11:59 p.m.
Some exceptions will apply, however, similar to those that were in place prior to the June 15 reopening. The exemptions were not immediately released by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The announcement from the Department of Public Health comes amid a growing increase in virus cases in the county, many of which are the highly transmissible Delta variant.
"Tracking the proliferation of the Delta variant is a priority because the Delta variant is more easily spread between people — more than other variants of concern," the group said.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
In a virtual press conference on Thursday, Los Angeles County Public Health Officer Muntu Davis noted, "This is an all-hands-on-deck moment," according to Deadline.
"Everything is on the table if things continue to get worse. The next level is 'High Transmission,' and that's not a place that we want [to] be," he added. "We can't wait for this to go higher before we act."
RELATED VIDEO: 11-Year-Old Making Masks for Healthcare Workers Surprised With Money for New Sewing Machine
Currently, the Department of Public Health has identified 1,262,578 positive cases of COVID-19 across the West Coast county, as well as a total of 24,566 deaths.
There are currently 406 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Los Angeles county, and 22% of these people are in the ICU.
As of earlier this week, more than 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to people across the area. Of these, 5,946,447 were first doses and 4,763,590 were second doses.
"We expect to keep masking requirements in place until we begin to see improvements in our community transmission of COVID-19. ... Masking indoors must again become a normal practice by all, regardless of vaccination status, so that we can stop the trends and level of transmission we are currently seeing," Davis said in the Department of Public Health release. "We continue to urge all eligible residents to get vaccinated in order to protect themselves and their family and friends."
"Becoming fully vaccinated against COVID-19 remains the best protective action that people can take if they are eligible for it," he added. "Although not at 100%, it significantly reduces the risk of infection and, for the small number of people that get infected, it reduces the risk of hospitalization and death once you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19."
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.