Showing: 1 - 3 of 3 RESULTS

LA Could Soon Escape State’s Most Restrictive Shutdown Tier

LOS ANGELES, CA — In a sign of the light at the end of the tunnel, Los Angeles County health officials said the region is on track to emerge from the most restrictive tier of the state’s coronavirus economic-reopening roadmap within the next few weeks.

Angelenos just have a little more work to do to help get the number of new coronavirus cases a little lower, Los Angeles County’s public health director said.

“My hope is that in the next few weeks we get to Tier 2” of the state’s reopening matrix, Barbara Ferrer told the county Board of Supervisors.

It will depend on whether the county can reduce its average rate of new cases per 100,000 residents from 7.6 to below 7. If the county can get there, it can advance out of the restrictive “purple” Tier 1 and into the slightly more liberal “red” Tier 2. As always seems to be the case, there are events and holidays on the horizon that could prove to be hurdles. On Tuesday, the state followed the county’s lead in advising against trick or treating on Halloween this year. Ongoing protests, demonstrations and postseason NBA and MLB gatherings could lead to an uptick in new cases.

Ferrer told the board that reducing the number of new cases will take continued action from residents, some of whom have contributed to recent upticks thanks to large gatherings held in spite of public health orders barring them. She reiterated earlier guidance from health officials suggesting that residents balance their daily risk of exposure by limiting their activities outside the home. She suggested, as an example, that if a person goes to a grocery store during the day, that person should consider staying home for dinner instead of visiting a restaurant that same day.

Large gatherings, however, have continued to vex efforts to control the spread of the virus. Health officials on Monday said the tens of thousands of people who attended a pro-Armenian march in the Mid City area on Sunday may have been exposed to the virus, and should now be avoiding others for the next 14 days and get tested for COVID-19. The same applies to the hundreds of people who flocked to downtown Los Angeles Sunday night to celebrate the Lakers’ NBA championship.

Ferrer also told the board that businesses must continue to adhere to health protocols as they welcome back customers, noting that the county has generally seen good compliance.

On Tuesday, the county reported another 18 coronavirus deaths, while health officials in Long Beach announced three additional fatalities. The new deaths increased the countywide total since the start of the pandemic to 6,793.

The county also announced 790 newly confirmed cases of the virus, while Long Beach added 40 and Pasadena reported three. Those cases lifted the overall cumulative total since the pandemic began to 283,793.

The county Department of Public Health noted that Tuesday’s number of new cases was likely artificially low due to reporting lags from

Santa Clara County Moves To Less Restrictive ‘Orange’ Tier

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA — Santa Clara County advanced to a less-restrictive tier of the state’s coronavirus pandemic reopening system Tuesday, enabling both counties to expand the maximum capacity of activities like indoor dining and open bars outside.

Santa Clara was among two Bay Area counties to receive state approval to lift some restrictions Tuesday. Alameda is the other.

The two counties moved from Tier 2, the red tier, to Tier 3, the orange tier, by reducing their rate of new cases per 100,000 residents per day below four.

They join San Francisco as the only Bay Area counties in Tier 3.

Santa Clara and Alameda counties also had to reduce their respective test positivity rates under 5 percent and their health equity score, which the state introduced last week, under 5.2 percent.

Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody encouraged residents to continue the efforts they’ve taken in recent weeks to reduce the virus’ local spread.

“We ask that everyone continue their efforts to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in our county,” Cody said.

“Everyone must take responsibility for preventing spread so that we don’t move back to more restrictive tiers under the State’s structure.”

Santa Clara County had been in Tier 2 since Sept. 8, allowing the county to resume indoor operations at businesses like gyms, shopping malls, museums, restaurants, zoos and aquariums at limited capacities.

Alameda County had been in the red tier since Sept. 22 and had to wait a minimum of three weeks to move into a less restrictive tier, regardless of whether it met the thresholds for the orange tier for two consecutive weeks before then.

“We’ve chosen an approach that we describe as slow and stringent,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s Health and Human Services secretary.

“We wait for the data to come in, we try to understand how changes in the levels of mixing that’s allowable in communities actually translates into transmission before we do more,” Ghaly said.

In many cases, both counties will be able to expand the maximum capacity of indoor businesses from 25 percent to 50 percent or 200 people, whichever is fewer.

Gyms, fitness centers and hotels will also be allowed to reopen indoor pools, while gyms themselves can increase their capacity from 10 percent to 25 percent of their maximum occupancy.

Moving into the orange tier also allows multiple sectors like offices, cardrooms, bowling alleys, climbing walls and gyms, wineries and bars, breweries and distilleries at which food is not served to resume operating inside with caps on capacity.

Alameda County Interim Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss echoed Cody’s warning that local progress in fighting the coronavirus can be easily undone.

“Especially with flu season coming, if we see spikes in COVID-19 cases and a rise in hospitalizations, we will take action to limit the spread and protect public health including resuming restrictions if needed,” Moss said in a statement.

Santa Clara and Alameda counties will now need to remain in the orange

L.A. County won’t move into a new reopening tier this week, officials say

Despite some promising numbers, Los Angeles County is not expected to move into a more permissive phase of relaxing coronavirus restrictions this week, public health officials announced Monday.



a person riding on the back of a car: Health worker Hannah Kwon works at a drive-thru COVID-19 test site established by Councilman Herb Wesson on Saturday. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)


© Provided by The LA Times
Health worker Hannah Kwon works at a drive-thru COVID-19 test site established by Councilman Herb Wesson on Saturday. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

In order to decide when a county can move to a new tier in California’s four-phase reopening plan, state officials are keeping an eye on two metrics: the rate of daily new cases per 100,000 residents over a recent seven-day period, which is adjusted to account for how much testing each county is doing, and the average percentage of tests for the virus that come back positive over seven days.

The state also recently created an equity metric that establishes specific positive case rate numbers that larger counties must meet in their poorer cities and neighborhoods.

L.A. County’s overall seven-day average positivity rate — 2.9% — and the positivity rate in its communities that have the fewest resources — 4.6% — both qualify the county to move into Tier 3, or orange, which indicates that community transmission is moderate, Barbara Ferrer, the county health director, said Monday.

But the county last week reported an adjusted case rate of 7.3 cases per 100,000 residents, placing it within Tier 1, or purple, which indicates that community transmission is widespread. State officials have said that a county can’t move out of Tier 1 until its adjusted case rate drops to 7 or less for two consecutive weeks.

“So even if our numbers tomorrow are at 7 new cases per day or less, we would still need another week of qualifying metrics,” Ferrer said.

However, Ferrer said, it’s possible for L.A. County to progress to Tier 2, or red, even if it doesn’t get its case rate down to 7, provided the rate continues to decline, and that its positivity rate and equity metric continue to meet the criteria for Tier 3, or orange.

“Say we don’t get to 7 but we are at 7.1, so we dropped from 7.3 to 7.1,” Ferrer said. “Then there is a possibility, if we can continue that this week and next week, that we would be able to move to red — not to orange, but we’d be able to move up one tier.”

L.A. County recorded 472 additional cases of the virus and seven related deaths Monday, Ferrer said, though she noted that case numbers are usually low on Mondays due to a weekend reporting lag.

There were 685 confirmed coronavirus patients in county hospitals as of Sunday, compared with more than 2,200 at the peak of the crisis in July.

The decline in new cases and hospitalizations has paved the way for the county to move forward with the latest wave of business reopenings, with casino cardrooms resuming outdoor operations Monday. Schools were also able to start applying to the county for waivers to resume in-person