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Los Angeles County Expands Reopenings As COVID-19 Transmission Remains Low

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Los Angeles County has entered the “yellow” tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy on Thursday as COVID-19 transmission remains low. 

On March 28, L.A. County was seeing 424 cases a day. A month later, on April 28, the number of new cases dropped 35% to 276 cases a day, according to the Department of Public Health. 

Over the same time interval, daily hospitalizations dropped 37%. Daily deaths dropped dramatically by 82% over the same period, from 17 on March 28 to three on April 28, according to the department. 

“We, like many of you, are enthusiastic about the opportunities to get out more and do the activities we love and missed. We have reopened most sectors to some degree – and with all of the re-openings, more intermingling is taking place among members of the community,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of public health in a statement. “Transmission can happen more easily and is more likely where there are crowds and unvaccinated people particularly indoors. We also must be aware that the more this virus spreads, the more opportunities it has to mutate – and the more it mutates, the greater the chance there will be a variant that can spread more quickly or cause more harm to the people it infects.”

Changes to the Health Officer Order took effect Thursday, reflecting the County’s move into the “yellow” tier allowing for increased occupancy limits across a wide range of sectors with required safety modifications.

Fitness facilities, indoor dining, cardrooms and racetracks, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, breweries, wineries, and craft distilleries can expand indoor occupancy to 50%.  

Bars establishments are now allowed to open for indoor services at a maximum capacity of 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer, with no counter seating/service. Amusement parks and fairs can increase capacity to 35%, and waterparks can expand to 40% capacity. Museums and aquariums can increase indoor capacity to 75%. 

Outdoor live performances and events can increase occupancy to 67% of capacity, while the occupancy limits at indoor live events depend on the total capacity of each venue and the vaccination and testing status of attendees.

 Other sectors where capacity limits have increased include private informal gatherings, where the occupancy limit has increased to 50% capacity or 50 people if indoors, whichever is fewer; outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people. 

At community sporting events, participation is restricted to 500 people per hour and a total of 1,500 people; if everyone is vaccinated or has tested negative at an outdoor community sporting event, the capacity increases to 3000 people. 

Office-based businesses and workspaces should limit occupancy to 75% of capacity unless all staff is vaccinated. Distancing and masking requirements remain in effect at worksites per CalOSHA requirements. 

At indoor malls, shopping centers, retail stores, hair salons, barbershops, personal care providers, libraries, and limited services, capacity remains limited to 75% to allow for at least 6 feet of distancing among staff and customers.

 On Thursday, Public Health confirmed 19 new deaths and 414 additional cases of COVID-19. To date, Public Health identified 1,234,746 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 23,966 deaths.

There are 387 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 24% of these people are in the ICU. COVID-19 testing results are available for more than 6,546,000 individuals with 18% of people testing positive. Thursday’s daily test positivity rate is 0.7%.

 As of May 2, more than 8,096,752 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to people across Los Angeles County. Of these, 5,013,679 were first doses and 3,083,073 were second doses. 

Overall, 39% of L.A. County residents are fully vaccinated. By age group two-thirds of seniors 65 and older and one-third of adults 16 to 64 are fully vaccinated.

Among people 65 and older, 82% have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Overall, 52% of residents 16 to 64 years old have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Since 

“When most of the community is vaccinated, and therefore immune from having or spreading a bad infection, transmission drops low enough that it becomes very unlikely the few unvaccinated people will have contact with an infected person and get sick,” public health officials said. “The exact number the County needs to vaccinate to achieve community immunity is unknown– but what we do know is that reaching it requires everyone who can get vaccinated to do it.”

COVID-19 vaccinations are available at County-run sites and many community sites without an appointment. For more information, visit here.

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Cal/OSHA Drops Mask Mandate For Fully Vaccinated Workers

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California regulators voted Thursday to drop the mask mandate for fully vaccinated workers.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA) approved a measure to align with the statewide June 15 face covering guidelines. 

Last month, the board voted to only allow workers to remove masks if all employees in the room were vaccinated. 

Unvaccinated employees must still wear face masks in indoor settings, according to Cal/OSHA

The guidelines require face coverings, such as N95 masks, to be given to unvaccinated workers by request, in place of physical distancing. 

However, masks are not required for vaccinated and unvaccinated workers while outdoors, according to the regulations. 

Businesses are still able to be more strict than the guidelines, according to Cal/OSHA.

Governor Gavin Newsom said earlier this week that he would sign an executive order that allows the new regulations to go into effect immediately, to avoid the 10-day administrative law review.

Certain settings, including public transit, still require all employees and patrons to wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Students and staff that are indoors in K-12 schools, childcare and other youth settings are also expected to still wear masks. Healthcare settings, including long-term care facilities, will also still require face coverings. 

In order to be considered fully vaccinated, residents must wait two weeks after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or the first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to Public Health.

Anyone 12 years and older living or working in Los Angeles County can now get vaccinated. For more information, visit here.

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Los Angeles County Modifies Health Officer Order As Full Reopening Takes Effect

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Los Angeles County has now fully aligned with the state on masking orders as the full reopening across California takes effect.

The modifications, which took effect on June 15, now allow fully vaccinated residents to not wear a mask in most businesses, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

Face coverings are required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, for public transit, transportation hubs, indoors in K-12 schools, other youth settings and healthcare settings.

Masks are also still required at long-term care facilities, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, emergency shelters and cooling centers.

Everyone can remove their masks outdoors, except people who are not fully vaccinated attending large outdoor events, according to Public Health. 

Sector-specific protocols remain in place for indoor K-12 schools, daycares, camps and high-risk congregate settings, according to the department. 

Currently, California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA) requires masking, unless all employees in the room are vaccinated. 

Board members said the regulation is temporary and officials are working for a replacement. If the board had voted against the proposal, the existing standard, which requires all employees to wear masks at all times, would have remained in place.

Cal/OSHA is meeting Thursday to modify the regulation, according to the state. 

Governor Gavin Newsom visited Six Flags Magic Mountain on Wednesday to celebrate the reopening, saying the Golden State is “roaring back.”

Newsom announced a new incentive, a chance at one of 50,000 Six Flags tickets, if residents get a COVID-19 vaccine at select sites.

L.A. County residents also have an opportunity to win a pair of season tickets to the 2021-2022 home season of the Clippers, the Rams or the Chargers.

Through June 17, at County-run vaccination sites, participating L.A. city and mobile sites, and St. John’s Well Child and Family Center sites, everyone 18 and older coming to get their first vaccine or who brings a first-time vaccine recipient with them to their second dose appointment will have an opportunity to win a pair of season tickets, according to Public Health.

Anyone 12 years and older living or working in Los Angeles County can now get vaccinated. For more information, visit here.

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Reopening: What Changes In Los Angeles County On June 15?

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From changing mask requirements to lifted business capacities, Los Angeles County is moving toward the biggest reopening since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Starting Tuesday, California is lifting capacity limits for businesses and dropping the requirement for social distancing, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of Health and Human Services.

Specific requirements are also expected to continue for large events, schools, daycares, day camps, high-risk congregant settings and health care facilities, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

On the same reopening date, masks will not be required for fully vaccinated individuals in businesses and most public settings, according to the department. 

Face coverings will be required for unvaccinated individuals in indoor public settings and businesses such as retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers and government offices serving the public.

However, there are certain settings where masks are required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status.

Masks are still required on public transit including airplanes, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-shares.

Face coverings will also be needed in transportation hubs such as airports, bus terminals, train stations, or any other area that provides transportation.

Students and staff that are indoors in K-12 schools, childcare and other youth settings are also expected to still wear masks. Public health officials say this change as updated K-12 schools guidance is forthcoming, pending updates for K-12 operational guidance from the CDC.

Healthcare settings, including long-term care facilities, will also still require face coverings. 

Masks are still needed at correctional facilities, detention centers, homeless shelters, emergency shelters and cooling centers.

Additionally, employers and workplaces must continue to comply with  California Occupational Safety and Health Standards (Cal/OSHA) standards. 

Cal/OSHA approved a measure to keep the face-covering requirement at sites with unvaccinated workers last week.

Board members said the regulation is temporary and officials are working for a replacement. If the board had voted against the proposal, the existing standard, which requires all employees to wear masks at all times, would have remained in place.

In order to be considered fully vaccinated, residents must wait two weeks after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or the first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the CDC.

Anyone 12 years and older living or working in Los Angeles County can now get vaccinated. For more information, visit here.

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