Public Health reports improved compliance, COVID-19 numbers

Ann Do, owner of Terrific Nails, left, paints the nails of client Carrol Stewart in her salon’s outdoor service area Monday afternoon. While Los Angeles County hasn’t yet moved out of the most restrictive tier, health officials have been encouraged by steady improvement. PHOTO BY BOBBY BLOCK / THE SIGNAL

After pressing residents to do their part over the holiday weekends recently due to the pandemic, L.A. County Public Health officials said recently businesses mostly complied with safety protocols — but the improvement needs to continue.

Los Angeles County officials have expressed continued optimism during recent news conferences regarding the number of COVID-19 diagnoses, but reiterated that the transition to less-restrictive health orders requires the trends to continue for two weeks. 

For example, businesses mostly complied with safety protocols, according to county officials, but there’s still room for improvement. 

“Worksite compliance, as we’ve mentioned before, is a cornerstone of our efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus in our county,” county Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said during a media briefing. “Reasonably good compliance was found with many aspects of the county protocols, but as you can see, not everyone is at 100%.” 

From Sept. 5-7, Public Health visited 331 locations across the county, including 126 restaurants, 113 hair salons and barbershops, 53 markets, 23 hotels and 10 gyms. 

Inspectors’ findings revealed that 96% of all markets and hotels complied with disinfecting protocols, followed by 90% of hair salons/barbershops, 83% of restaurants and 80% of gyms.

Gyms and hotels were the least to comply among the rest of the sectors inspected with regards to ensuring patrons wore face coverings, scoring 10% and 65%, respectively. Restaurants were the least (76%) to comply with physical distancing protocols, according to Public Health data. 

The county has issued 30 citations, with fines totaling $23,000 since Aug. 28, when the county began the process of citing businesses for violating health protocols, said Davis. 

COVID-19 outbreaks at residential and non-residential settings are beginning to decline, data showed. From March 15 through Sept. 8, residential outbreaks peaked at the start of the pandemic, while non-residential locations hit their largest peak in early July. Both have since been trending downward, according to Public Health. 

Data also revealed that, of 10,000 individuals interviewed for COVID-19 case investigations from Aug. 17-31, 56% said they had come in close contact with at least one person during their infectious period. These figures revealed, of those interviewed, the most common types of contact each individual had been mostly household (90%) contacts. Social situations (4%), intimate partners (2.5%) and workplaces (1.4%) followed behind. 

As more businesses comply with county protocols, Davis announced the COVID-19 Safety Compliance Certificate Program that offers free, online training for businesses to ensure that their practices align with infection control requirements.

The L.A. County Public Health Department has released data regarding non-residential meeting areas that have three or more confirmed cases of COVID-19. These include workplaces, food and retail stores, and educational settings. 

There are four locations in the Santa Clarita Valley that reported having three or more coronavirus cases as of Sept. 25. 

Contractor Wardrobe, located on Avenue Hall in Valencia, has 26 confirmed staff members with COVID-19. Light Industries, Mega Goods, and Leonard’s Molding Products, also all located in Valencia, have seven, 10, and 9 cases, respectively. 

A cluster of businesses affected by COVID-19 are located in Downtown Los Angeles, as well as in San Gabriel Valley. 

Lancaster and Palmdale have five businesses with three or more confirmed cases.

In L.A. County, grocery stores, lower-risk retail stores, and hardware and appliance stores are allowed to be open, while shopping centers and malls remain closed.  

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