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When Can Los Angeles County Move Into The Next Tier Of Reopening?

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Los Angeles County Reopening

As COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County continue to decline, the county remains in the most-restrictive “purple” tier of the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy. 

Since the blueprint went into effect in August of 2020, L.A. County has remained in the “purple” tier, meaning there is a widespread risk of COVID-19 transmission, according to the state.

In order to move into the next tier, which is “red” or substantial transmission, Los Angeles County must remain below the required seven COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and a testing positivity rate of 8% for at least two weeks. 

As of Wednesday, L.A. County has an average of 12.3 cases per 100,000 residents and a 5.1% seven-day average positivity rate, according to the state’s website. 

A third metric also must be met for larger counties, the health equity quartile, to ensure that the test positivity rates in its most disadvantaged neighborhoods do not significantly lag behind its overall county test positivity rate.

In Los Angeles County, the equity testing rate is 7.5%, just below the required 8% to move into the red tier.

To meet all three requirements, L.A. County only has to lower the average number of cases, according to the state. 

What Can Reopen in the Red Tier?

Once the threshold is met for two weeks, the county is expected to move into the next tier which allows additional businesses to reopen, upon approval from the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

Middle and high schools can open for grades 7-12 once the county is in the red tier and the campuses also implement the school reopening guidelines.

Students from kindergarten to sixth grade were just recently allowed to return for in-person learning, once L.A. County met the required case requirement.

The threshold for grades 7-12 to return is seven cases per 100,000 residents, with L.A. County remaining above that guideline as of Wednesday.

In addition to schools, more businesses are allowed to reopen in the red tier.

Gyms and fitness centers can open indoors with 10% maximum capacity, according to the guidance. 

Movie theatres are also allowed to open indoors with 25% maximum capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. 

Museums, zoos and aquariums can also reopen in the red tier at 25% capacity. The current purple tier allows these businesses to operate outdoors. 

Indoor dining can be allowed under the next tier, however, all of these changes are subject to the approval of the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

Once Los Angeles County moves into the red tier, the county health order must be modified to allow any changes.

Local government bodies, such as counties and cities, are allowed to be more restrictive than the state guidelines, not less restrictive. 

The most notable example of a more restrictive health order in L.A. County is the previous ban on outdoor dining. 

The Board of Supervisors voted in November to keep the outdoor dining restrictions after the state allowed restaurants to operate “al fresco.”  

In January following the winter holidays, the health officer order was then modified to align with the state guidelines to allow outdoor dining in L.A. County. 

As COVID-19 cases continue to decline, Los Angeles County is nearing the criteria needed to move into the next tier of reopening.

Cases have declined an estimated 90% since the peak of the winter surge in January, according to the Department of Public Health.

The seven-day average number of daily cases peaked at more than 15,000 cases on Jan. 8 and has now dropped to 1,600 a day, according to the department.

“This significant drop in case numbers reflects actions and choices taken by millions of residents, workers and employers,” said public health officials. 

In order to continue the decline, Public Health is urging residents to continue following COVID-19 prevention measures. 

For more information on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, visit here

Coronavirus

Public Health Prepares For Increased Demand As Residents Over 16 Become Eligible For COVID-19 Vaccine

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COVID19 Vaccine Los Angeles County 2 (1)

Public health officials are preparing for a surge in demand for a COVID-19 vaccine as all residents over the age of 16 become eligible on Thursday, as supply decreases due to the pause of Johnson & Johnson.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said Wednesday the newly eligible group includes nearly 5 million residents, with about 1.5 million already receiving at least one dose of a vaccine. 

All residents over 16 can make an appointment starting Wednesday on the state’s MyTurn website, following the expansion by the City of L.A. earlier this week. 

The county paused the use of the J&J vaccine on Tuesday out of an abundance of caution after the recommendation from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Ferrer said the blood clotting reaction is “one in a million,” but urged those who have experienced any unusual symptoms to contact Public Health. 

More than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S. The CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. 

The pause is in effect until the FDA and CDC complete their review, which is expected to take several days, according to the department. 

“We are grateful to the researchers and scientists working to ensure that all medications or vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccines, meet the highest safety standards,” Ferrer said.

Public health officials are prioritizing new appointments for those who were scheduled to receive a J&J vaccine, according to Ferrer.  

The county received an allocation of about 323,470 doses of the vaccines this week, an estimated 80,000 doses less than the week prior. About 19,000 doses of the allocation are the J&J vaccine, according to Public Health. 

As of April 14, over 3.4 million doses have been administered in L.A. County, including over 1.9 million second doses, according to the public health director.

On Wednesday, 57 new deaths and 411 additional cases were reported in Los Angeles County. A total of 23,553 deaths and 1,226,964 cases have been confirmed across the county since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the department. 

For more information on vaccination efforts in L.A. County and to make an appointment, visit here

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Los Angeles County Remains In ‘Orange’ Tier As COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations Decline

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Los Angeles County is remaining in the “orange” tier of reopening as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline. 

The L.A. County Department of Public Health confirmed 23 new deaths and 448 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. To date, 1,226,596 positive cases of COVID-19 and a total of 23,498 deaths have been confirmed across all areas of L.A. County.

There are 471 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 25% of these people are in the ICU. Testing results are available for more than 6,223,000 individuals with 18% of people testing positive.

L.A. County is in the orange tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy that allows for permitted activities in several key sectors with safety measures in place. In order to move to the less restrictive yellow tier, the County’s case rate must be less than 2 new cases per 100,000 people and test positivity must be less than 2%.

Tuesday, the State released updated numbers; L.A. County’s adjusted case rate slightly increased from 3.1 new cases per 100,000 people to 3.2 new cases per 100,000. The test positivity rate remained at 1.5% and in areas with the fewest health affirming resources, L.A. County’s test positivity rate remained at 1.9%.

The State plans to fully reopen with safety measures on June 15 if there is enough vaccine supply for Californians 16 years and older to be vaccinated and hospitalization rates remain stable and low, especially among fully vaccinated Californians.

“We have moderate transmission in L.A. County, so it remains necessary to continue taking steps to prevent increases in cases to keep our recovery from stalling,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of public health in a statement. “One important tool for reducing transmission are vaccines. And while we all need to follow the FDA and CDC recommendation to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as they conduct their review, we encourage residents to keep their appointments to get vaccinated with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine. We are grateful to the researchers and scientists working to ensure that all medications or vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccines, meet the highest safety standards.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a joint recommendation on Tuesday to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after reports that six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed unusual types of blood clots 6 to 13 days after receiving the vaccine. 

Out of an abundance of caution, Los Angeles County is following the recommendation of the FDA and CDC to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until the FDA and CDC complete their review, which is expected to take several days, public health officials said.

Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare with nearly 7,000,000 people receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States to date. COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority and we are working with healthcare providers across the county to ensure they are using screening tools and reporting adverse events, according to the department. 

People who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the last three weeks should report severe headaches, abdominal or leg pain, and shortness of breath to their medical provider or seek medical care. People who don’t have a medical provider can call 2-1-1 to connect with a healthcare provider.

Public Health notes the pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should not have a major impact on this week’s vaccine appointments for the County. Out of the 323,470 total doses allocated to the County this week, only 19,600 were Johnson & Johnson doses. Vaccine providers in Los Angeles County will contact patients that were scheduled to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine about rescheduling or providing a new appointment for Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. 

Changes will be made to the MyTurn website starting tomorrow to allow residents 16 and older to begin to schedule vaccination appointments for Thursday and later. Youth 16 and 17 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine and need to sign up at a site that offers this vaccine, according to the department. 

For information about how to make a COVID-19 vaccination appointment, visit here.

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L.A. County, City To Pause Johnson & Johnson Vaccine After Advisory

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Both the County and City of Los Angeles are pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after an advisory from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA released a joint statement reporting a “rare and severe type of blood clot” in six individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. 

The City of L.A. is set to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, until further notice, at all sites throughout the City, said Deputy Mayor Jeff Gorell. 

Any previous appointments made Tuesday are expected to be honored with another vaccine, according to Gorell.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released a statement later Tuesday morning saying the county is also pausing the J&J vaccine.

 This pause will last until the FDA and CDC complete their review, which is expected to take several days. Vaccine providers in Los Angeles County will contact patients about rescheduling or providing a new appointment for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, according to Public Health.

As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen ) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. The CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. 

In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). 

All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination, according to the statement. 

“Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered,” the statement said. “Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given.”

CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. 

Until that process is complete, the agencies are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution. 

“This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot,” the statement said.

Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare, according to the agencies. 

“COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously,” the statement said. “People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.”

Note: This story has been updated with a statement from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

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