L.A. County projects possible move to less restrictive health orders in October

Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control.

Los Angeles County Public Health Department officials said during a press conference Wednesday that the county could move out of the worst COVID-19 “tier” as early as October, which would lead to further recovery and reopening measures.

Earlier this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a COVID-19 “tier” system for counties, putting counties throughout the state in one of four categories. Each county’s placement was determined by two factors: their countywide daily average new cases per 100,000 residents, and a daily average percent of positive tests.

Currently, L.A. County is in the lowest tier, or the purple tier, due to having an 8.1 new case rate per 100,000 people and a 3.2% test positivity rate.

However, despite the latest figures still being relatively high, Barbara Ferrer, the director of the L.A. County Public Health Department, shared an optimistic outlook, saying that the data shows mitigation methods are generally working.

“If we don’t see a surge in cases and hospitalizations associated with activities over Labor Day, and we continue to reduce our rate of community transmission over the weeks ahead, we could enter Tier 2, which is a less restrictive tier, sometime in October.”

Ferrer noted that the county’s testing positivity rate (3.2%) is at a Tier 3, or orange level. However, the state guidelines indicate that a county is categorized based on its lowest tier level among the two indicators. The county’s daily case rate per 100,000 needs to reach four to seven cases per 100,000, and maintain that level for 14 days, in order to move to Tier 2.

“Last week the daily number of cases was about 800, and this is compared with over 2,000 just a month ago,” said Ferrer. “But because we’ve experienced low testing numbers these past 10 days, the number of new cases we’re seeing may, unfortunately, be artificially low.”

“Although,” Ferrer added, “I think the trend, the declining trend, in fact holds.”

County Public Health officials reported 1,448 new cases and 31 new deaths in the last day during the press conference Wednesday.

These latest daily figures bring the countywide total number of COVID-19 cases to 256,148 and the total number of deaths related to COVID-19 to 6,303.

Over those who died, 17 were over the age of 80, four were 65-79 years old and nine were between 50-64 years old. One death was reported by the city of Long Beach, which has its own independent health department.

As of the most recent update, 804 people remain hospitalized due to COVID-19, 30% of whom are in the ICU. Of those who have died due to the disease since the onset of the pandemic, 92% have had underlying conditions.

Santa Clarita Valley numbers

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital officials reported on Wednesday that since the onset of the pandemic, the hospital has tested 7,664 people, with 839 positives and 8,925 negatives (some individuals are tested more than once). Twenty-three test results remain pending. 

A total of 14 people remain in the hospital due to complications related to the disease, and 244 patients have been discharged. 

The number of SCV cases, including all area health care providers’ daily figures and those at Pitchess Detention Center, increased by 21 in the last day, bringing the total number of local cases reported to 5,683. 

As of Wednesday, the cases are broken down into region as follows: 

City of Santa Clarita: 3,232

Unincorporated – Acton: 66

Unincorporated – Agua Dulce: 26

Unincorporated – Bouquet Canyon: 6

Unincorporated – Canyon Country: 122

Unincorporated – Castaic: 1,923 (majority of Castaic cases come from Pitchess Detention Center, exact number unavailable)

Unincorporated – Lake Hughes: 2

Unincorporated – Newhall: 6

Unincorporated – Placerita Canyon: 0

Unincorporated – San Francisquito Canyon/Bouquet Canyon: 0

Unincorporated – Sand Canyon: 6

Unincorporated – Saugus: 27

Unincorporated – Saugus/Canyon Country: 1

Unincorporated – Stevenson Ranch: 157

Unincorporated – Val Verde: 67

Unincorporated – Valencia: 42
To view all coronavirus-related stories, visit signalscv.com/category/news/coronavirus.

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