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LA County Allows Indoor Religious Services Under Modified Health Order

A man prays while attending an Easter service at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, Sunday, April 12, 2020. Many churches are adapting their services as Christians around the world are celebrating Easter at a distance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP
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Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health announced today that it would change its health order to reflect recent Supreme Court rulings against state attempts to limit indoor worship services because of the coronavirus.

In a news release issued Saturday afternoon, the department said that places of worship can have both indoor and outdoor services “with mandatory physical distancing and face coverings over both the nose and mouth that must be worn at all times while on site.”

The modification comes as L.A. County experiences a dangerous surge in Covid-19 cases.

The public health department on Saturday confirmed 13,756 new cases and 60 deaths.

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The county has now posted more than 600,000 confirmed cases, with more than 100,000 of them reported since Dec. 11.

Intensive care unit capacity for Covid-19 patients stayed at 0% in L.A. County and the 10 other counties designated by the state as the Southern California region.

“L.A. County is experiencing the fastest acceleration of new cases than at any other time during the pandemic,” according to public health officials.

Worship services and protests are constitutionally-protected and have legally continued through the pandemic, but public health officials say they should take place outdoors.

Today the department reiterated that it “strongly recommends that places of worship continue to hold services outdoors.”