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Beverly Hills Courier
Beverly Hills Courier

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County Making Inroads on COVID-19

“A very important part of our recovery is getting our children back to schools. Yesterday, the state released new guidance about newly permitted activities at all schools across the state to help students at high risk and high need. 

County  Making  Inroads on COVID-19
BY Ana Figueroa August 29, 2020

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 58 new deaths and 1,642 new cases of confirmed COVID-19. As of this week, Public Health identified 235,386 positive cases of COVID-19 in the county, with a total of 5,663 deaths. The number of confirmed cases in Beverly Hills is 609.

The state is monitoring counties on six indicators to determine their progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19. The indicators include testing capacity, how much transmission of the virus is happening in the community, how many people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19, and the capacity of hospitals to care for people with COVID-19 with adequate numbers of available Intensive Care Unit beds and ventilators. Los Angeles County is currently meeting five of the state’s six indicators but has yet to meet the threshold of less than 100 cases per 100,000 residents. As of Aug. 26, the 14-day case rate per 100,000 people for L.A. County was 198 cases per 100,000 residents.

Once all six indicators are met, the County will be removed from the state’s COVID-19 county monitoring list.

Governor Gavin Newsom has also given local health officers the discretion to grant waivers to school districts and private schools that would permit schools to reopen for in-classroom instruction for students in grades TK through grade 6 once case rates are under 200 per 100,000 people.

Public Health is working to assess the new guidance to determine what additional adjustments may be needed before opening up the waiver process.

Barbara Ferrer, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.Ed., Director of Public Health, noted:

“A very important part of our recovery is getting our children back to schools. Yesterday, the state released new guidance about newly permitted activities at all schools across the state to help students at high risk and high need.  We will be closely reviewing the new guidance from the state and will be working with the Board to ensure that our Health Officer Orders are adjusted to ensure that when schools open for any new activities, they do so with as much safely as possible for all children and staff. Given the need to review the implications of the new state guidance on school re-opening plans, at this point, we are not ready to open up our waiver process for schools.”

Public Health also continues to survey skilled nursing facilities in the County regarding compliance with mandated COVID-19 testing and on COVID-19 cases and outbreaks. All 341 skilled nursing facilities responded and provided information about testing and new cases for the week of Aug. 9. From Aug. 9 through Aug. 15, testing was completed for 12,793 nursing home residents and for 21,581 staff. Out of the 341 facilities, 190 were classified as having an outbreak, and 123 did not report any additional cases. One hundred and fifty-one facilities were classified as not having an outbreak, and 130 of these did not report any positive test results from this round of testing. The 21 skilled nursing facilities that reported one or more positive cases are required to test all their residents and staff to control any outbreak.

Public health also continues tracking the number of positive cases and deaths among healthcare workers related to the COVID-19 pandemic response. There have been a total 83 deaths and a total of positive 13,626 cases among healthcare workers and first responders in Los Angeles County. Nurses account for the majority of deaths among healthcare workers at 42 percent. Skilled nursing and assisted living facilities account for one-third of the healthcare workers who have tested positive for the virus and hospitals account for 26 percent.

As of this week, there are 1,186 confirmed cases of COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 32 percent of these are confirmed cases in the ICU. However, the number of daily hospitalizations continues to decrease.  Daily hospitalizations peaked at 2,200 patients in mid-July.

For additional information and a list of resources, visit the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov

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