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Los Angeles County Is Now In The ‘Red’ Tier: What Can Open?

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Los Angeles County Reopening

Monday marks the first time Los Angeles County has entered the “red” tier, allowing additional businesses and schools to reopen. 

Since the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy was introduced in August of 2020, L.A. County has remained in the most-restrictive “purple” tier, meaning there is widespread community transmission of COVID-19. 

At 12:01 a.m. on March 15, Los Angeles County officially entered the “red” tier, or substantial transmission, paving the way for additional reopening, according to the Department of Public Health.

Movie Theaters

After nearly a year, movie theaters are once again open in L.A. County. 

Cinemas are allowed to reopen indoors at 25% capacity with reserved seating only where each group is seated with at least six feet of distance in all directions between any other groups. 

AMC announced the flagship Burbank location is opening on Monday, with other theaters expected to open in the coming weeks. 

Gyms and Fitness Centers

Gyms, fitness centers, climbing walls, yoga and dance studios can open indoors at 10% capacity for all indoor activities.

Masking is required at all times while inside the facility, according to Public Health.

Indoor pools, saunas and steam rooms must remain closed, with the exception of indoor pools used for “drowning prevention classes,” including swim lessons with certified instructors. 

These establishments are urged to “proceed with caution and adhere to the requirements in this protocol to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19,” said the guidelines. 

Indoor Dining

Restaurants can open indoors at 25% max capacity under the following conditions: eight feet distancing between tables; one household per table with a limit of six people; the HVAC system is in good working order and has been evaluated, and to the maximum extent possible ventilation has been increased.

Public Health strongly recommends that all restaurant employees interacting with customers indoors are provided with additional masking protection, above the currently required face shield over face masks; this can be fit tested N95 masks, KN95 masks or double masks and a face shield. 

In addition, the department further recommends that all employees working indoors are informed about and offered opportunities to be vaccinated. Outdoor dining can accommodate up to six people per table from three different households. 

Schools

Middle and high schools are permitted to reopen for in-person instruction for students in grades 7-12, adhering to all safety guidelines, according to public health officials. 

For campuses to reopen, administrators are required to submit a safety protocol to the state, according to the health order.

“Stable learning groups” are in place for elementary school students, however, are not mandatory for middle and high school due to students having multiple teachers. 

To minimize mixing, block schedules are encouraged to limit the number of students on campus. 

Schools must also continue to offer 100% distance learning as an option, according to Public Health.

Higher Education

Institutes of higher education can reopen all permitted activities with required safety modifications except for residential housing which remains under current restrictions for the spring semester. 

Colleges may provide indoor, in-person lectures up to 25% capacity or 100 students, whichever is less.

Specialized classrooms, such as laboratories, art, design and theater art studios and music practice rooms are allowed to reopen at full occupancy based on applicable building or fire code occupancy, according to the guidelines. 

Campuses are encouraged to maximize ventilation, ensure proper masking and enforce physical distancing requirements in all classroom environments.

Museums, Zoos and Aquariums 

Museums, galleries, zoos and aquariums may reopen for indoor operations at 25% maximum indoor occupancy.

These establishments must strictly meter entrances to indoor exhibits and ensure compliance with occupancy limits.

All outdoor areas can continue to operate provided that they meet guidelines in the COVID-19 protocol.

Increased Capacity At Other Businesses  

In addition to these reopenings, several businesses are allowed to expand capacity.

Retail and personal care services can increase capacity to 50%, with masking required at all times and for all services. 

Indoor shopping malls can increase capacity to 50%, with common areas remaining closed; food courts can open at 25% capacity adhering to the restaurant guidance for indoor dining. 

To date, L.A. County’s adjusted case rate is 5.2 new cases per 100,000 people. The test positivity rate is 2.5%, and in areas with the least health affirming resources, L.A. County has a test positivity rate of 3.6%, according to Public Health.

“This milestone is the result of businesses and individuals working together and doing their part to prevent COVID-19 from spreading,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of public health in a statement. “It will be up to everyone, businesses and residents, to continue driving down transmission and to follow safety directives closely to keep everyone as safe as possible by preventing increases in cases. When even relatively small numbers of businesses and individuals fail to adhere to the safety precautions, many others experience tragic consequences.”

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L.A. County COVID-19 Hospitalizations Lowest Since Begining Of Pandemic

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Coronavirus-COVID-19-Los-Angeles-County-e1611171979986 (1)

Los Angeles County COVID-19 hospitalizations have reached the lowest levels since March of 2020.

There are 376 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 22% of these people are in the ICU. The five-day average of daily hospitalizations is 389, the lowest since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health. 

 “We see the power of vaccinations in our low metrics and reduced transmission. It is important to remember those who remain unvaccinated are at a greater risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and a variant of concern,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of public health in a statement. “If you’ve already been vaccinated, encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to get vaccinated if they haven’t done so already. Many COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths can be avoided now that we have vaccines available. Vaccines are the best protection from COVID-19.”

On Friday, 16 new deaths and 421 additional cases of COVID-19 were confirmed. To date, Public Health identified 1,235,118 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 23,980 deaths.

COVID-19 testing results are available for more than 6,558,000 individuals with 17% of people testing positive. Friday’s daily test positivity rate is 0.6%. The County’s test positivity rate remains very low.

Although very rare, COVID-19 cases among children can sometimes result in a few weeks to a very serious illness known as Multi-symptom Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). 

Public Health has confirmed a total of 186 children with MIS-C including two child deaths from MIS-C in L.A. County. All 186 children with MIS-C in L.A. County were hospitalized and 37% of the children were treated in the intensive care unit (ICU). 

Of the children with MIS-C, nearly 3% were less than one year of age, 25% were between the ages of 1 and 4 years old, 29% were between the ages of 5 and 9 years old, 27% were between the ages of 10 and 14, and 16% were between the ages of 15 and 20 years old. Latino/Latinx children account for 74% of the reported cases, according to the department. 

COVID-19 vaccinations are available at County-run sites and many community sites without an appointment. Anyone 16 and older living or working in L.A. County can get vaccinated. For more information, visit here

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

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COVID19 Vaccine Los Angeles County 2 (1)

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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Bars Able To Open Indoors, Other Businesses Can Increase Capacity In ‘Yellow’ Tier

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Los Angeles County Bars Yellow Tier

Starting Thursday, bars are able to open indoors, and other businesses can increase capacity as Los Angeles County enters the “yellow” tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. 

The L.A. County Health Order has been modified effective at 12:01 a.m. on May 6 to allow bars to operate indoors at 25% capacity or a maximum of 100 people, according to the Department of Public Health. 

Restaurants, breweries and wineries can increase indoor capacity to 50%, under the new guidelines, according to the county.

Television viewing is allowed, however, live entertainment is only allowed outdoors, according to Public Health.

Movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers are also allowed to 50% capacity indoors, according to the guidelines. 

Museums, zoos and aquariums can increase indoor capacity to 75%, according to the county.

Amusement and theme parks can increase capacity to 35%. Fully vaccinated out of state visitors are now permitted.

Indoor live event and performance venues up to 1,500 guests can operate at a maximum of 25% capacity or 50% if guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination.

Venues with 1,501 guests and above can operate at 10% capacity of 2,000 people; whichever is fewer or 50% capacity for tested or fully vaccinated guests, according to the county.

Outdoor live Event and performance venues can expand to 67% capacity with safety modifications.

All of these changes will still require safety modifications, including masking, distancing and infection control to reduce the risk of transmission, according to the department. 

 “It is a big deal for L.A. County, a county of more than 10 million people, to move into the least restrictive tier in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. We are successful only because together we took a stand to lower COVID-19 transmission by following the guidance and safety measures,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of public health in a statement. “While the transmission is low here, we are still in the middle of a pandemic, variants of concern are circulating, and there is still widespread transmission occurring in other parts of the world. We know how to get our rates low, now we must keep them low by getting vaccinated and continuing to follow the guidance. Our gains are fortified as more people are vaccinated.”

On Tuesday, California released updated COVID-19 metrics, with L.A. County meeting the criteria needed for the “yellow” tier for two weeks in a row. 

The county has a seven-day average test positivity rate of 0.7% and an average of 1.6 cases per 100,000 residents, according to state data. 

Public Health confirmed 18 new deaths and 273 additional cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. To date, the department has identified 1,234,202 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 23,930 deaths.

There are 386 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 25% of these people are in the ICU. COVID-19 testing results are available for nearly 6,525,000 individuals with 18% of people testing positive.

COVID-19 vaccinations are available at County-run sites and many community sites without an appointment.

Everyone 16 and older living or working in L.A. County can get vaccinated. For more information, visit here

Note: This story has been updated with additional information from the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

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