L.A. City and County COVID-19 Weekly Update - CA Health and Government COVID-19 Guidance: Week in Review - October 2020 #4

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COVID-19 Resurgence

As of Monday, October 26, 2020, Los Angeles County remains in Tier 1, the most restrictive tier, of the State’s Blueprint.

At a briefing on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer presented data on the County’s recovery metrics indicating a resurgence of COVID-19 in L.A. County. Dr. Ferrer noted that while regional case rates and test positivity rates remain low, the County’s average number of cases per day has been “creeping up” since September. In addition, the County’s test positivity rate has stabilized at about 3.5%, but Dr. Ferrer stated there has been a slight increase that needs to be “carefully watched.”

As of Friday, October 23, 2020, the three-day average test positivity rate climbed to 3.4%, up almost 0.5% since the end of September.

On October 21, 2020, Dr. Ferrer also pointed out that hospitalizations have leveled off and the County continues to remain below 800 cases per day. This may be due in part to the fact that younger people are driving infections and may require hospitalization less often. However, there may also be a time lag between increased transmission rates and increased hospitalizations due to the coronavirus’s incubation period.

Also on October 21, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly presented on the hospital demand model. She announced that the County’s transmission rate has continued to rise and was up to 1.04.

Additional Reopening

L.A. County continues to reopen additional sectors of the economy. On October 21, Supervisor and County Board Chair Kathryn Barger announced that the County would be revising guidance to ease COVID-19 rules in two additional areas:

  • Removing reservation requirements for breweries and wineries
  • Removing the food service requirement for wineries
  • Allowing family entertainment centers to reopen for outdoor activity, including outdoor operations for go-carts, mini-golf and batting cages.

On Friday, October 23, the County released updated guidance on these sectors, as well as guidance permitting additional reopenings for personal care services indoors with modifications (in addition to hair salons and nail salons, which were previously permitted to reopen for indoor operations at 25% capacity).

Education

Also on October 21, Supervisor Barger announced that the County would be increasing capacity for schools with a sizable special-needs student population, to 25% (up from 10%). As of last week, 986 schools were open for this limited population, with almost 35,000 students and 20,000 staff present for limited in-person instruction.

In addition to these reopenings for high-needs populations, the County continues to process waiver applications. As of October 21, the County had received 110 applications to allow schools in grades TK-2 to reopen for in-person education, although only four waiver applications had been issued. Dr. Ferrer said that the waiver process typically takes two to three weeks, because it requires both County and state review of the application.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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