TUESDAY, Feb. 8, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Vaccinated people in California will no longer have to wear masks indoors as of Feb. 15, but schoolchildren will still have to wear masks, state health officials announced Monday.

However, they said that unvaccinated people will still have to wear masks indoors, and both vaccinated and unvaccinated people will be required to wear masks in high-risk settings, such as public transit, nursing homes, and other congregate living facilities. But effective immediately, the state no longer requires people to show a negative COVID-19 test before visiting hospitals and nursing homes.

State health officials said local governments can continue their own indoor masking rules. Last week, Los Angeles County health officials said they plan to keep their indoor mask regulations in place after the state regulations are lifted, CBS News reported. According to L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, the county will keep indoor mask requirements in place until the county has two straight weeks at or below a “moderate” rate of 50 new cases per 100,000 people and there are no signs of any new, worrisome variant circulating. The current rate is 117 cases per 100,000 people, CBS News said.

State officials also said that large indoor events must require vaccinations or negative tests for attendees, and unvaccinated people will have to wear masks. There is no vaccination requirement for large outdoor events, but masks or negative tests are recommended.

There has been a 65 percent drop in COVID-19 case rates in California since the peak during the omicron surge, CBS News noted.

“Omicron has loosened its hold on California, vaccines for children under 5 are around the corner, and access to COVID-19 treatments is improving,” according to Tomás J. Aragón, M.D., the state public health officer. “With things moving in the right direction, we are making responsible modifications to COVID-19 prevention measures, while also continuing to develop a longer-term action plan for the state.”

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