“Spring officially began this past weekend,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Like so many of you, I am eagerly awaiting warmer weather and clearer skies. We have a beautiful county, and I encourage you all to enjoy everything it has to offer while remaining masked and physically distanced. For recreational travelers and residents coming to L.A. County, please note, you are required to self-quarantine for 10 days after you return from out of state or out of country travel to protect our community from inadvertent transmission of the virus from travelers.”
Angelenos are enjoying Spring and being able to get out and about at some of their favorite locations now that the county is in the red tier of guidelines. Vaccinations sites are booting up again after a recent shortage. Mobile vaccine units are targeting vulnerable communities, visiting senior housing sites, senior centers, faith-based organizations and community-based organizations.
In February, Kroger, the parent company of Ralphs and Food 4 Less, announced it would be shutting down two of its stores in Long Beach in opposition to Hero Pay, which would increase grocery store workers’ pay an $4 per hour. Last month, Kroger announced more closures which include a Ralphs, located at 9616 West Pico Blvd., another Ralphs at 3300 West Slauson Ave., and a Food 4 Less at 5420 West Sunset Blvd. It’s been stated that these three locations are scheduled to close on May 15, according to a company spokesperson.
Protocols for schools, K-12 grades, have been updated to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health. Schools are strongly suggested to socially distance student seating by three feet, wearing masks and keeping six feet between each other during activities.
Vaccinations are currently being administered to healthcare workers, residents and staff at long-term care facilities, residents who are age 65 or older, education and childcare workers, food and agriculture workers, emergency service workers and law enforcement, people with serious health conditions or disabilities, people who live or work in high-risk congregate living spaces (shelters, jails, and residential behavioral health programs), janitorial, custodial, and maintenance services workers, and people who work in the transportation and logistics.
As of Monday, March 22, the L.A. County Dept. of Public Health confirmed nine new deaths and 516 new cases of COVID-19. There were 750 people with COVID-19 hospitalized with 25% of these people in the ICU.
The Dept. of Public Health made additional modifications to the Health Officer Order. The revisions were issued on March 19, and took effect on March 20, with the following changes:
*Breweries, Wineries and Craft Distilleries that do not provide a meal, may open for outdoor service only with certain restrictions, including:
-All guests must have reservations;
-Guests are limited to a 90-minute time limit for their visit;
-Guests must be seated at tables before they place their order, and are not permitted to stand or congregate with others;
-Hours are limited with service for on-site consumption closing by 8:00 pm.
*Breweries, Wineries, and Craft Distilleries that serve a bona fide meal can be open for indoor dining operations at 25% of indoor capacity and must follow the same modifications required of restaurants
*Clarity for certain types of businesses that serve the public but are not typical retail establishments, such as non-school learning centers, bank and credit union branches, check cashing services, tax preparation, auto repair, auto dealerships, and dry cleaners. These types of limited services businesses are now permitted for indoor operations with modifications at 50% capacity
*For mental health, support groups, and spiritual counseling, the number of in-person participants increases from 10 to 12 participants to make this type of support more accessible to those in the community. Public Health still encourages services to be provided remotely when at all possible
*For office-based worksites, businesses that must open indoors for essential operations that cannot be done remotely must also limit indoor capacity to 50% of maximum occupancy
*For youth and adult recreational sports, the County is aligning with State to allow for indoor sports to engage in indoor activities, including training, conditioning, contact practice and competition if they adhere to State requirements
-Limiting any indoor sports activities to 10% of indoor occupancy; observers are not permitted for any youth or adult indoor sports activities, including competitions;
-Regular testing of players, coaches, and staff;
-Development and implementation of a Return to Play Safety Plan and a Site-Specific Safety Plan. Plans must be filed with Public Health 14-days prior to indoor activity;
Public Health identified 1,214,683 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 22,806 deaths. Cases across the Southland: Los Angeles County shows 1,151,894 cases, Long Beach with 51,709 cases and Pasadena with 11,080. According to race and ethnicity, COVID-19 statistics show: American Indian/Alaska Native with 1,939; Asian with 52,910; Black with 42,393; Hispanic/Latino with 576,515; Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander with 4,164; White with 120,062; those of other race and ethnicity with 105,083 and 248,828 under investigation.
“We strongly recommend that those who traveled and during their travels were in crowds, exposed to unmasked individuals in close proximity, or attended gatherings, get tested on their return,” said Ferrer. “This is particularly important for those who traveled to places with high rates of community transmission, like Miami, which reported a 9% test positivity rate; this is 6 times higher than the test positivity rate in L.A. County. Please remember how easily this virus can spread and take every action you can to protect yourself others until we all can get vaccinated.”
For more information and statistics on COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, please visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/
For more detailed information on COVID-19 vaccination plans in L.A. County and to sign up for a vaccination newsletter, visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com