The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 6 new deaths and 422 new cases of COVID-19. The lower number of deaths may reflect reporting delays over the weekend. To date, Public Health identified 1,210,663 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 22,475 deaths.
The seven-day average number of daily cases by episode date has decreased to 550 new cases per day as of March 7. As COVID-19 case rates, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to decrease, Public Health urges residents to proceed with caution, as effective Monday, Monday, March 15, the following re-openings are now permitted with required safety protocols for masking, distancing and infection control:
- Museums, Zoos and Aquariums can open indoors at 25% capacity.
- Gyms, Fitness Centers, Yoga and Dance Studios can open indoors at 10% capacity with masking requirement for all indoor activities.
- Movie Theatres can open indoors at 25% capacity with reserved seating only where each group is seated with at least 6 feet of distance in all directions between any other groups.
- Retail and Personal Care Services can increase capacity to 50% with masking required at all times and for all services.
- Restaurants can open indoors at 25% max capacity under the following conditions: eight feet distancing between tables; one household per indoor table with a limit of six people; the HVAC system is in good working order and has been evaluated, and to the maximum extent possible ventilation has been increased. Public Health strongly recommends that all restaurant employees interacting with customers indoors are provided with additional masking protection (above the currently required face shield over face masks); this can be fit tested N95 masks, KN95 masks, or double masks, in addition to the required face shield. Public Health also strongly recommends that all employees working indoors are informed about and offered opportunities to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Outdoor dining can accommodate up to six people per table from three different households.
- Indoor Shopping Malls can increase capacity to 50% with common areas remaining closed; food courts can open at 25% capacity adhering to the restaurant guidance for indoor dining.
- Institutes of Higher Education can re-open all permitted activities with required safety modifications except for residential housing which remains under current restrictions for the Spring semester.
- Schools are permitted to re-open for in-person instruction for students in grades 7-12 adhering to all state and county directives.
- Private gatherings can occur indoors with up to three separate households, with masking and distancing required at all times. People who are fully vaccinated can gather in small numbers indoors with other people who are fully vaccinated without required masking and distancing.
However, just because certain activities are allowed or certain reopening protocols are revised, does not mean that those activities are “safe” and without risk. We are still in the middle of a pandemic, and whenever there are more opportunities for interactions with people not in your household, there can be more transmission of the virus. We have the tools to protect ourselves from increased transmission; we just need to use them and not get complacent.
To keep yourself, your family, your friends and neighbors, and the broader community and local economy safe, continue following these core practices:
- Go outdoors. Outdoor activities are far safer than indoor ones.
- Stay masked. Consistent and correct use of masks, especially double-masking, both indoors and outdoors, is very effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- Maintain at least a 6-foot distance from others. Physical distancing from those who do not live with you also helps to keep the virus away.
- Avoid crowds. The fewer people you encounter and the fewer interactions you have, the smaller the chance the virus will spread.
- Get vaccinated when it’s your turn. All federally authorized vaccines work well and will help protect you, your family, and your friends against COVID-19.
“Our deepest condolences go out to everyone who is mourning a loved one or friend who has passed away from COVID-19. We are so sorry for your loss,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health on Monday. “Tomorrow, March 16, will mark the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19-related Health Officer Order here in L.A. County and for the first time since the state created the Blueprint for a Safer Economy last summer, L.A. County has moved from the most restrictive purple tier to the red tier. That we are here today is not a miracle; our recovery represents the deep commitment by hundreds of thousands of individuals and many thousands of businesses to adhering to safety measures and making sacrifices to keep each other safe. I thank you L.A. County. As we move forward, let’s remember that our re-openings are happening alongside holidays and spring break. Holiday traveling, gatherings indoors and large parties have in the past wrecked our recovery journey. Let’s not repeat past mistakes and let’s pledge to keep everyone alive until it is their turn to get vaccinated.”
There are 893 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 28% of these people are in the ICU. Daily hospitalizations numbers continue to steadily decline.
Testing results are available for nearly 5,961,000 individuals with 19% of people testing positive. Monday’s daily test positivity rate was 1.7%.
Of the six new deaths reported Monday, two people that passed away were over the age of 80, two people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, two people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, and two people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49.
To date, nearly 2,742,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the county. Of those vaccinated, 899,527 people have received second doses.
Currently, people who are eligible for the vaccine include healthcare workers, residents and staff at long-term care facilities, people who are age 65 or older, education and childcare workers, food and agriculture workers, emergency service workers and law enforcement, and starting Monday – people with certain serious health conditions and disabilities.
As of last week, 61.2% of L.A. County residents 65 and older received at least 1 dose of the vaccine and 33.7% received both doses. As a reminder to residents 65 and older not yet vaccinated, please make your appointment as soon as you can. Many neighborhood pharmacies are now offering appointments. If you are unable to use the web-based appointment system, please call our call center at 833-540-0473 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. 7 days a week. They can assist you with making an appointment.
Vaccine eligibility expands to residents between the ages 16 through 64 who have underlying health conditions or disabilities that put them at the highest risk of becoming very sick from COVID-19. Persons with these conditions should check with their health care provider to see if they can be vaccinated by their health care provider. Vaccinations will also be available at community vaccination sites for those who can travel to these sites. More information and options are available online.
This week, there are over 384 vaccination sites receiving a portion of the 259,660 total doses allocated to L.A. County. The allocation for this week is lower as the County is not receiving Johnson & Johnson doses, and this may be true next week as well. Last week, we received over 312,000 doses, 54,000 of which were Johnson & Johnson.
Public Health is continuing to increase allocations to community sites serving hardest hit communities so that providers are able to vaccinate more people. This week, 79 mobile vaccination sites will be operating across L.A. County to vaccinate people living in senior centers and residential communities, and in hard-hit areas of the county.
Across vaccination providers, there continues to be much more capacity to vaccinate; this week alone there are over 627,000 appointment slots available, and we only have enough doses for about 259,000 appointments. Our large capacity vaccination sites alone could be providing 210,000 additional doses this week if there was sufficient supply.
As Public Health has done the last 2 weeks, vaccinations are scheduled on sector-specific days for eligible groups at the large capacity vaccination sites. A full breakdown of the occupations by sector and appointment days is available online.
At hundreds of vaccination sites across the county, including pharmacies and many community clinics, appointments are open to L.A. County residents or workers meeting the eligibility requirements. Visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish) for more information on who is eligible, how to make an appointment if it is your turn, and what verifications you will need when you show up for your vaccine. As a reminder, vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status.
County Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional actions you can take to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.