By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Ahead of Labor Day, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health urges residents to plan for a safe weekend, while remaining cautiously optimistic about the rate of COVID-19 transmission.
“While optimistic about the current community transmission data we are seeing, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is preparing for a holiday weekend and warning the public to heed the lessons learned from the spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths that occurred after the previous holidays,” the department wrote in a statement.
Public Health reported increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations occurred within a few weeks of Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends.
“In order to continue our recovery journey, it’s important to utilize the tools that we have and adhere to physical distancing and infection control requirements that reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19,” the statement continues.
Public Health added that being around people who are not a part of the same household increases the risk for COVID-19, emphasizing the importance of skipping parties and BBQs hosted by non-household members.
The county has made “encouraging progress” in all the key indicators throughout August, including the percent of positive tests.
“A month ago, on July 31, the seven-day test positivity rate was 8.6%,” Public Health reported on August 31. “Today, the seven-day positivity rate is 4.7%, a decrease of 45% in one month. In that same period, the county’s daily hospitalizations decreased by 48%, from 2,220 on July 31 to 1,043 today.
“The seven-day average of new cases has also declined steadily over the past month. On July 31 the seven-day average of new cases was 2,883 and today that number is 1,309, a decrease of 55%.”
Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer shared a message of sympathy in the report: “Our hearts go out to all our county residents who are mourning the loss of a loved one.”
As of Friday, August 28, Governor Gavin Newsom announced an updated tiered framework that will be used to guide possible sector reopenings for each county to consider. As of August 31, LA County was in Tier 1, meaning that there continues to be “widespread transmission” of COVID-19.
The current number of new cases per day per 100,000 people is 13.1, which is nearly double the threshold of the tier: seven new cases per day per 100,000.
“And even though LA County’s current test positivity rate of 5% puts us in Tier 2 (red) for this metric, when the two metrics fall in different tiers the state places counties in the most restrictive tier; hence, LA County, like most counties in California, has been placed in Tier 1,” Public Health explained. “Our path forward for recovery depends on us being able to reduce community transmission significantly so children and teachers can get back to their classrooms and more people can get back to their jobs with as much safety as possible.”
Though gyms and restaurants remain closed for indoor service, outdoor dining and takeout continues to be allowed over the long weekend, including at places in the Palisades like The Draycott, CinqueTerre WEST Osteria and The Golden Bull, which has expanded its patio seating.
Over the Fourth of July weekend, beaches across LA County were closed. As the Post went to print Tuesday, no plans to close the beaches this weekend, which is anticipated to bring hot weather with highs projected to reach 100 degrees in the Palisades, had been announced.
The number of positive cases in Pacific Palisades reached 114, with 22 additional in Palisades Highlands, as the paper went to print. In LA County, excluding Long Beach and Pasadena, there have been 229,621 positive cases, with 5,502 deaths.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story reported that salons were closed for indoor services. Restrictions have since been amended and allow for indoor operations at partial capacity.
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