California extends mask mandate through Feb. 15

The state of California is extending its indoor mask mandate through early February, California Health & Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly announced Wednesday.

The mandate went into effect ahead of the holidays on Dec. 15, and was originally scheduled to expire next Saturday, on Jan. 15. Ghaly said the extension is in response to the massive spike in cases related to the COVID-19 omicron variant, and the rise in hospitalizations in the state. On Tuesday, Los Angeles County reported 2,000 COVID-related hospitalizations, a huge spike from the previous numbers.

RELATED: California's statewide indoor mask mandate kicks off as virus cases rise

When asked what it would take to lift the mask mandate, Ghaly said that the department is focused on hospitalization numbers, and that masks make a difference.

Los Angeles County currently still has a mandate requiring masks for everyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status, indoors, on public transit, and at outdoor events of 10,000 people or more. 

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