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LA County is ready for major reopening as it hits the yellow level



Los Angeles County’s remarkable COVID-19 recovery hit a new milestone Tuesday as the region developed into the least restrictive category in California’s reopening system.

Moving into the yellow level paves the way for the country’s most populous county to eliminate their economy as much as possible, meaning a number of businesses and venues – including gyms, cinemas, theme parks, stadiums and museums – can operate at higher capacity.

And some of the last indoor spaces not yet cleared for reopening, including bars that do not serve meals, saunas and steam rooms, will be able to start later this week.

While state-level tasks set the word for what is allowed, counties have the power to impose additional restrictions ̵

1; something LA County has done on a regular basis throughout the pandemic.

During a briefing Monday, however, public health director Barbara Ferrer said the county would “adapt quite significantly to the direction the state is moving.”

“We just want to make sure that wherever you go, you can always keep a distance of at least 6 meters from others, that everyone always has their masks appropriate – with the exception of vaccinated people and a handful of … activities – and that infection control it is still clear everywhere that people want to be where they are interfering, ”she said. “So we still have to protect our workers. We still need to protect children. ”

Ferrer said the county plans to issue a health officer order regarding the wider reopening Wednesday, which takes effect Thursday.

What level a county is placed in hinges on three measurements: its rate of new cases of coronavirus, adjusted based on the number of tests performed; the rate at which tests are performed returns positive and a health equity measurement is used to ensure that the positive test rate in poor communities is not significantly higher than the county’s overall figures.

Counties must register two weeks in a row with qualifying data to advance to a less restrictive level and must remain at a level for at least three weeks before moving again.

Reaching the yellow level requires an adjusted daily new case rate of less than 2 per. 100,000 people, an overall test positivity of less than 2% and a health equity positivity of less than 2.2%.

LA County’s test positivity has been within the yellow range for about a month, but only last week did the adjusted case rate finally fall below the required threshold.

Still, the county’s speed of 1.9 was barely within the qualifying range – with even a slight regression threatening to delay its progress.

But the county’s adjusted rate fell instead further to 1.6, according to state data released Tuesday.

“We’ve done a really decent job if we look at our case numbers,” Ferrer said. “And people are really invested, I think, at this point in watching our recovery move forward.”

LA County is one of only seven counties to have climbed to the final step of California’s reopening ladder.

Before this week, only four of the state’s 58 counties – Alpine, Sierra, Lassen and Mendocino – had come this far.

But the yellow club has since nearly doubled in size, with the counties of LA, San Francisco and Trinity all advancing this week.

Twenty-three counties are now in the orange level, the second mildest category of California’s four-layer color-coded reopening plan, and 12 counties are in the stricter red level. No part of the state is currently in the most restrictive purple level.

California as a whole has seen a dramatic decline in cases of coronavirus and hospitalizations in the wake of the fall and winter waves that triggered chaos across the country.

Over the past week, the state has reported an average of 1,760 new cases a day, a 25% drop from two weeks ago, according to data collected by The Times.

The number of coronavirus-positive patients in California hospitals – which topped 21,000 on top of the increase – had dropped to 1,626 as of Sunday.

And the state has seen a similar drop in the number of residents paying the ultimate price of the pandemic. Over the past week, an average of 66 Californians have died from COVID-19 a day – a fraction of the hundreds of high daily tolls seen below the height of the last peak.

Public health officials and experts say California’s progress is a testament to the power of COVID-19 vaccines, which are now available to anyone 16 years of age and older.

About half of all Californians and 63% of adults have so far received at least one vaccine dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, only 32% of residents and 41% of adults are considered fully vaccinated – meaning they either received a single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine or both required doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

Officials have also seen the demand for shot tail off too late.

In the week of April 17-23, 611,592 doses were administered in LA County – an average of approx. 87,000 a day. From 24 to 30 April, only 467,134 doses were dispensed, an average of about 67,000 per Day.

“At this point, the goal for us is to make it as easy as possible for people to get in and feel comfortable getting their vaccine,” Ferrer said.




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