Public Health Prepares to Open L.A. County

After more than a year spent quarantining, social distancing, and working from home, California will lift most capacity limits and distancing restrictions on businesses starting June 15. On June 8, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) cautioned, however, that this shift in guidelines does not mean the end of COVID-19.

“As California reopens and most physical distancing requirements and capacity limits are lifted a week from today, it’s very important that those not vaccinated continue to take precautions,” said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

To date, Public Health has identified 1,245,412 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 24,404 deaths. There are 232 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 16% of these people are in the ICU. Testing results are available for over 6,836,000 individuals with 17% of people testing positive. Beverly Hills has reported 2,690 positive cases of COVID-19.

Los Angeles has pulled out all the stops to encourage vaccinations. In one strategy, the county offered a chance to win Dodgers or L.A. Football Club season tickets to first-time vaccine recipients or anyone who brought a first timer. “While we are making great progress with vaccinations in the County with 54% of L.A. County residents 16 and over fully vaccinated and 65 percent having received one dose of the vaccine, there are millions of residents who do not have protection from COVID-19,” Ferrer said. “For those not yet vaccinated, and the over 1.3 million children under 12 years old, wearing a face covering remains important for preventing transmission.”

California’s strategy to combat the pandemic seems to have borne fruit, with the state boasting the lowest COVID-19 case rate of any in the union. L.A. County’s most recent case rate stands at 0.7 new cases per 100,000 people and the county remains in the yellow tier, the least restrictive level in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework.

California will end all but some restrictions on businesses on June 15, save for limits on large capacity events, schools, day cares, day camps, high-risk congregant settings and health care facilities. The county will follow the state’s lead in loosening restrictions. Still, though, businesses will have to comply with guidelines released by the state Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board. Under those rules, workers who are unvaccinated or work with someone without their vaccinations will still have to wear face coverings. If every worker has their full vaccinations, then they can forgo masks. 

As of June 8, Public Health identified 13 new deaths and 186 new cases of COVID-19. Of the new deaths, three people that passed away were over 80 years old, six people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 and four people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64.

“We know there are people across our community who have suffered tremendous loss. For those of you mourning the passing of a loved one, we wish you healing and peace,” said Ferrer. 

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