LA Could Soon Escape State’s Most Restrictive Shutdown Tier

LOS ANGELES, CA — In a sign of the light at the end of the tunnel, Los Angeles County health officials said the region is on track to emerge from the most restrictive tier of the state’s coronavirus economic-reopening roadmap within the next few weeks.

Angelenos just have a little more work to do to help get the number of new coronavirus cases a little lower, Los Angeles County’s public health director said.

“My hope is that in the next few weeks we get to Tier 2” of the state’s reopening matrix, Barbara Ferrer told the county Board of Supervisors.

It will depend on whether the county can reduce its average rate of new cases per 100,000 residents from 7.6 to below 7. If the county can get there, it can advance out of the restrictive “purple” Tier 1 and into the slightly more liberal “red” Tier 2. As always seems to be the case, there are events and holidays on the horizon that could prove to be hurdles. On Tuesday, the state followed the county’s lead in advising against trick or treating on Halloween this year. Ongoing protests, demonstrations and postseason NBA and MLB gatherings could lead to an uptick in new cases.

Ferrer told the board that reducing the number of new cases will take continued action from residents, some of whom have contributed to recent upticks thanks to large gatherings held in spite of public health orders barring them. She reiterated earlier guidance from health officials suggesting that residents balance their daily risk of exposure by limiting their activities outside the home. She suggested, as an example, that if a person goes to a grocery store during the day, that person should consider staying home for dinner instead of visiting a restaurant that same day.

Large gatherings, however, have continued to vex efforts to control the spread of the virus. Health officials on Monday said the tens of thousands of people who attended a pro-Armenian march in the Mid City area on Sunday may have been exposed to the virus, and should now be avoiding others for the next 14 days and get tested for COVID-19. The same applies to the hundreds of people who flocked to downtown Los Angeles Sunday night to celebrate the Lakers’ NBA championship.

Ferrer also told the board that businesses must continue to adhere to health protocols as they welcome back customers, noting that the county has generally seen good compliance.

On Tuesday, the county reported another 18 coronavirus deaths, while health officials in Long Beach announced three additional fatalities. The new deaths increased the countywide total since the start of the pandemic to 6,793.

The county also announced 790 newly confirmed cases of the virus, while Long Beach added 40 and Pasadena reported three. Those cases lifted the overall cumulative total since the pandemic began to 283,793.

The county Department of Public Health noted that Tuesday’s number of new cases was likely artificially low due to reporting lags from

L.A. County won’t move into a new reopening tier this week, officials say

Despite some promising numbers, Los Angeles County is not expected to move into a more permissive phase of relaxing coronavirus restrictions this week, public health officials announced Monday.



a person riding on the back of a car: Health worker Hannah Kwon works at a drive-thru COVID-19 test site established by Councilman Herb Wesson on Saturday. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)


© Provided by The LA Times
Health worker Hannah Kwon works at a drive-thru COVID-19 test site established by Councilman Herb Wesson on Saturday. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

In order to decide when a county can move to a new tier in California’s four-phase reopening plan, state officials are keeping an eye on two metrics: the rate of daily new cases per 100,000 residents over a recent seven-day period, which is adjusted to account for how much testing each county is doing, and the average percentage of tests for the virus that come back positive over seven days.

The state also recently created an equity metric that establishes specific positive case rate numbers that larger counties must meet in their poorer cities and neighborhoods.

L.A. County’s overall seven-day average positivity rate — 2.9% — and the positivity rate in its communities that have the fewest resources — 4.6% — both qualify the county to move into Tier 3, or orange, which indicates that community transmission is moderate, Barbara Ferrer, the county health director, said Monday.

But the county last week reported an adjusted case rate of 7.3 cases per 100,000 residents, placing it within Tier 1, or purple, which indicates that community transmission is widespread. State officials have said that a county can’t move out of Tier 1 until its adjusted case rate drops to 7 or less for two consecutive weeks.

“So even if our numbers tomorrow are at 7 new cases per day or less, we would still need another week of qualifying metrics,” Ferrer said.

However, Ferrer said, it’s possible for L.A. County to progress to Tier 2, or red, even if it doesn’t get its case rate down to 7, provided the rate continues to decline, and that its positivity rate and equity metric continue to meet the criteria for Tier 3, or orange.

“Say we don’t get to 7 but we are at 7.1, so we dropped from 7.3 to 7.1,” Ferrer said. “Then there is a possibility, if we can continue that this week and next week, that we would be able to move to red — not to orange, but we’d be able to move up one tier.”

L.A. County recorded 472 additional cases of the virus and seven related deaths Monday, Ferrer said, though she noted that case numbers are usually low on Mondays due to a weekend reporting lag.

There were 685 confirmed coronavirus patients in county hospitals as of Sunday, compared with more than 2,200 at the peak of the crisis in July.

The decline in new cases and hospitalizations has paved the way for the county to move forward with the latest wave of business reopenings, with casino cardrooms resuming outdoor operations Monday. Schools were also able to start applying to the county for waivers to resume in-person

Counts At Or Above Orange Tier

LOS ALAMITOS, CA — Orange County Health Care Agency officials Friday reported six more people have succumbed to COVID-19 and 209 more have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

The county’s death toll now stands at 1,281 with a cumulative positive case count at 54,118 since the pandemic began.

In Los Alamitos, a total of 195 residents have tested positive for coronavirus since the pandemic hit our region in March. In nearby Rossmoor, 66 residents have developed coronavirus, and in Seal Beach, 282 have been affected by the virus.

Four of the six reported dead on Friday were skilled nursing facility residents.

Since the pandemic began, 461 of the deaths were skilled nursing facility residents and 89 lived in assisted living facilities.

That leaves 731 others who died from coronavirus that were not living in nursing homes.

As cases continue to persist, whether from a Labor Day surge or not, Orange County CEO Frank Kim said he was concerned to see the case rate rise above 200.

“I’m concerned,” Kim said. “I want to see those numbers smaller… The general trend is a slow, steady rise in case loads. We’re not seeing any significant particular industry sector that is causing it. It’s generally throughout the community.”

The reporting of COVID-19 fatalities comes from multiple hospitals and the Orange County coroner’s office and are often delayed, so the six deaths happened over the past few weeks. But the Orange County Health Care Agency has reported 67 fatalities since Sunday, following 77 last week.

The deadliest day for the county since the pandemic began remains Aug. 3, when 19 people died on the same day.

The last day of double-digit deaths was Aug. 31, when 10 people died on the same day.

“When you see a surge of cases, the unfortunate second shoe to drop in our community and in communities across the country is deaths, which is a lagging indicator,” said Dr. Matthew Zahn, the medical director of the county’s communicable disease control division.

The deaths are “overwhelmingly related to the surge in cases a couple of months ago,” Zahn said. “Our hospital and ICU numbers (since then) have really gone down, which is really important.”

Hospitalizations jumped from 158 on Thursday to 175, with the number of patients in intensive care inching up from 45 to 48. The county has 34% of its intensive care unit beds available and 67% of its ventilators. The change in 3-day average for hospitalized patients rate increased from 5.4% on Thursday to 6.8%.

The positivity rate, which is reported each Tuesday, stands at 3.1%, the same as last week, but the daily case rate per 100,000 people went up from 3.6 to 4.4, which is higher than the cutoff of 3.9 to qualify for the state’s orange tier.

It means the county will remain in the red tier for at least another two weeks, but there is hope the trend will continue and that the county will be able to move into to the

Rancho Santa Margarita Coronavirus Updates: OC Above Orange Tier

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CA — Orange County Health Care Agency officials Friday reported six more people have succumbed to COVID-19 and 209 more have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

The county’s death toll now stands at 1,281 with a cumulative positive case count at 54,118 since the pandemic began.

Four of the six reported dead on Friday were skilled nursing facility residents.

Since the pandemic began, 461 of the deaths were skilled nursing facility residents and 89 lived in assisted living facilities.

That leaves 731 others who died from coronavirus that were not living in nursing homes.

As cases continue to persist, whether from a Labor Day surge or not, Orange County CEO Frank Kim said he was concerned to see the case rate rise above 200.

“I’m concerned,” Kim said. “I want to see those numbers smaller… The general trend is a slow, steady rise in case loads. We’re not seeing any significant particular industry sector that is causing it. It’s generally throughout the community.”

The reporting of COVID-19 fatalities comes from multiple hospitals and the Orange County coroner’s office and are often delayed, so the six deaths happened over the past few weeks. But the Orange County Health Care Agency has reported 67 fatalities since Sunday, following 77 last week.

The deadliest day for the county since the pandemic began remains Aug. 3, when 19 people died on the same day.

The last day of double-digit deaths was Aug. 31, when 10 people died on the same day.

“When you see a surge of cases, the unfortunate second shoe to drop in our community and in communities across the country is deaths, which is a lagging indicator,” said Dr. Matthew Zahn, the medical director of the county’s communicable disease control division.

The deaths are “overwhelmingly related to the surge in cases a couple of months ago,” Zahn said. “Our hospital and ICU numbers (since then) have really gone down, which is really important.”

Hospitalizations jumped from 158 on Thursday to 175, with the number of patients in intensive care inching up from 45 to 48. The county has 34% of its intensive care unit beds available and 67% of its ventilators. The change in 3-day average for hospitalized patients rate increased from 5.4% on Thursday to 6.8%.

The positivity rate, which is reported each Tuesday, stands at 3.1%, the same as last week, but the daily case rate per 100,000 people went up from 3.6 to 4.4, which is higher than the cutoff of 3.9 to qualify for the state’s orange tier.

It means the county will remain in the red tier for at least another two weeks, but there is hope the trend will continue and that the county will be able to move into to the orange tier by mid-October.

Read: Care For Others Stops Coronavirus Spread In North OC: Report

The OC Health Care Agency released the current by city coronavirus case count as of Friday:

  • Aliso Viejo – 388 Total Cases

  • Anaheim –