Los Angeles County has met the threshold for the less restrictive orange tier in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Tuesday, the State released updated numbers; L.A. County’s adjusted case rate dropped from 3.7 new cases per 100,000 people to 3.1 new cases per 100,000 people. The test positivity rate dropped from 1.8% to 1.5% and in areas with the fewest health affirming resources, L.A. County’s test positivity rate dropped from 2.5% to 2.1%.
A revised Los Angeles County Health Officer Order will go into effect on Monday, April 5 at 12:01 a.m. to reflect newly permitted activities. This allows the County to follow the state guidelines and wait until three weeks are completed in the red tier to be sure that case numbers do not rise this third week since the County’s earlier re-openings. The Health Officer Order and modified directives for businesses will be posted on Friday, with an effective date of April 5. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) teams will be available this week and through the weekend to provide information about upcoming changes, allowing establishments to be prepared for full compliance with the required safety modifications.
On April 5, assuming County case numbers do not increase, the following changes will be made to the Health Officer Order:
- Bars that do not provide meals will be allowed to open outdoors with distancing, masking and infection control safety measures. Indoor operations are not permitted. Masks are required except when people are eating or drinking. There can be no counter seating and people can eat or drink only when they are seated. Tables must be 8 feet apart, with a maximum of 6 people from up to 3 different households. There can be no live entertainment, television is permitted, and hours of operations are from 11:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
- Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries that do not serve meals can remain open outdoors and can also open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. These establishments will follow the same public health directives as bars for their outdoor areas, however, there are additional requirements for indoor spaces: reservations are required for indoor seating, there is a maximum of 6 people per table and they must be from the same household, and there is no live entertainment or television viewing indoors.
- Restaurants can increase capacity for indoor dining to 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is less with continued safety modifications.
- Cardrooms can operate indoors at 25% capacity. There must be 8-feet of distancing between tables and masks are always required. Food and beverages remain banned from card tables.
- Places of Worship can hold services indoors at 50% capacity.
- Fitness Centers can operate indoors at 25% capacity and indoor pools can now re-open. Masks are always required unless swimming.
- Movie Theatres can increase capacity to 50% or 200 people, whichever is less. Seats must be reserved, and each group must have 6 feet of distance from other groups in all directions. Eating is allowed in only designated areas or in your reserved seat.
- Family Entertainment Centers can open indoors at 25% capacity for distanced activities, such as bowling or escape rooms. Masks remain required.
- Grocery and Retail Stores can increase capacity to 75%, although Public Health strongly recommends grocery stores remain at 50% capacity until April 15 to allow as many grocery store workers as possible get vaccinated.
- Hair Salons, Barbershops and Personal Care Services can increase capacity to 75% with masks required, except for services where customers need to remove their masks. For services where customers must remove their face coverings, staff must wear a fitted N95 or a mask with a face shield.
- Museums, Zoos and Aquariums can be open indoors at 50% capacity.
- Youth and Adult Recreational Sports can apply to Public Health for approval for athletic events, tournaments or competitions that involve more than two teams or multiple individuals.
Tuesday, Public Health has confirmed 26 new deaths and 386 new cases of COVID-19. The lower number of deaths and cases may reflect reporting delays over the weekend and holiday. To date, Public Health identified 1,218,958 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 23,110 deaths.
The daily average number of cases is now fewer than 400 daily cases, a 50% decrease from the number of cases at the end of February.
The County is seeing great progress in terms of hospitalizations and deaths, as the daily average number of hospitalizations decreased 52% since the end of February, and the daily average number of deaths decreased 75% in the past month.
There are 649 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 27% of these people are in the ICU. Testing results are available for nearly 6,081,000 individuals with 19% of people testing positive.
Of the 26 new deaths reported Tuesday, seven people that passed away were over the age of 80, nine people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, eight people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, and two people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the friends and families who are living through this tragedy. We are sending our love and prayers during your time of grief,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “While Los Angeles County has yet to experience increases, this week will be critical, as we are now two weeks out from when we moved into the red tier and reopened several sectors. There is much to be optimistic about. Los Angeles County has administered nearly 4 million vaccine doses. Spring is here. The weather is beautiful. USC and UCLA are in the Elite Eight and we are close to opening day for baseball. However, we cannot let our guard down. Another surge here would be dangerous and stop our recovery progress. We would move swiftly to introduce measures to limit transmission and these measures would have us stepping backwards. Keep yourself, your loved ones, and essential workers safe by following all the rules when you are at a business, retail or food establishment “
In a study released yesterday of about 4,000 health-care personnel, police, firefighters and other essential workers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the vaccines reduced the risk of infection, both asymptomatic and symptomatic infection by 80% after one dose, and that protection increased to 90% following the second dose. Different from the clinical trials, which are tightly controlled, and showed that the vaccines are highly effective preventing hospitalizations and deaths, this study shows just how effective the vaccines are in preventing infections in real-life conditions. The findings of this study are significant and provide evidence that the vaccines can both reduce transmission and save lives.
Los Angeles County continues making progress administering the COVID-19 vaccine. As of March 24, the County has administered close to 4 million doses of vaccine, with more than 1.2 million people receiving a second dose.
As of March 27, the County has vaccinated 71% of people ages 65 through 79 and 62% of people over the age of 80. These age groups were prioritized because of their high risk for serious illness or death from COVID-19. The County has also vaccinated 32% of people ages 50 through 64 who were eligible workers or individuals with serious underlying medical conditions or disabilities.
In total, there are almost 5.5 million residents 16 and older that still need to be vaccinated.
Los Angeles County is prepared to expand eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine starting this Thursday, April 1, for County residents 50 through 64 years old. Additionally, on April 15, vaccines will become available to any resident in Los Angeles County who is 16 and older.
Changes will be made to the MyTurn eligibility criteria starting tomorrow to allow residents 50 through 64 years old to begin to schedule appointments. Please note that, while the County received more vaccine doses this week, there are not yet enough doses to vaccinate everyone that is eligible, so we need to ask for patience until supply increases. Public Health’s priority will remain getting residents and workers in hard hit communities vaccinated. We will re-double efforts to increase accessibility and availability of vaccine in communities with the highest risk and lower rate of vaccinations.
For information about who is eligible for COVID-19 vaccine in L.A. County, how to make an appointment if it is your turn, what verifications you will need to show at your vaccination appointment, and much more, visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish). 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.