Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials announced Thursday that the county is expected to enter the less restrictive, red tier this weekend, with reopenings expected to be permitted Monday through Wednesday.
“The exact date depends on when 2 million vaccine doses have been administered to people in the most under-resourced communities across the state,” a statement by Public Health read.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday he expects the state to reach that threshold Friday.
L.A. County is set to align its health officer order with the state’s, with some additional safety modifications for certain sectors, which include:
- Museum, zoos and aquariums can open indoors at 25% capacity.
- Gyms, fitness centers, yoga and dance studios can open indoors at 10% capacity with masking requirement for all indoor activities.
- Movie theaters can open indoors at 25% capacity with reserved seating only where each group is seated with at least 6 feet of distance in all directions between any other groups.
- Retail and personal care services can increase capacity to 50% with masking required at all times and for all services.
- Restaurants can open indoors at 25% max capacity under the following conditions:
- 8 feet distancing between tables;
- One household per table indoors with a limit of 6 people; outdoor dining can accommodate up to 6 people per table from 3 different households.
- The HVAC system is in good working order and has been evaluated, and to the maximum extent possible ventilation has been increased.
- Public Health strongly recommends that all restaurant employees interacting with customers indoors are provided with additional masking protection (above the currently required face shield over face masks); this can be fit tested N95 masks, KN95 masks, or double masks and a face shield.
- In addition, Public Health strongly recommends that all employees working indoors are informed about and offered opportunities to be vaccinated.
- Indoor shopping malls can increase capacity to 50% with common areas remaining closed; food courts can open at 25% capacity adhering to the restaurant guidance for indoor dining.
- Institutes of higher education can reopen all permitted activities with required safety modifications except for residential housing which remains under current restrictions for the spring semester.
- Schools are permitted to reopen for in-person instruction for students in grades 7-12 adhering to all state and county directives.
- Private gatherings can occur indoors with up to 3 separate households, with masking and distancing required at all times. People who are fully vaccinated can gather in small numbers indoors with other people who are fully vaccinated without required masking and distancing.
In addition, Public Health outlined upcoming vaccine eligibility requirements, as Monday, vaccine eligibility is set to open up to people ages 16 through 64 who have underlying health conditions or disabilities that put them at the highest risk of becoming very sick from COVID-19.
These conditions include:
- Cancer, with a current weakened immune system.
- Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above.
- Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen dependent.
- Down syndrome.
- Solid organ transplant, leading to a weakened immune system.
- Sickle cell disease.
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (but not hypertension).
- Severe obesity with a BMI of more than 40.
- Type 2 diabetes with A1c level greater than 7.5%.
- Having a disability that: Makes serious illness from COVID-19 likely; would, if positive for COVID-19, limit the person’s ability to received care vital to their well-being and survival; or would make the treatment for COVID-19 particularly challenging.
Providers and health care facilities are working to use their health record systems to identify patients who have these conditions and reach out to them so they can be vaccinated, and the state is expected to release guidance on other ways people with these conditions can verify their eligibility to be vaccinated in the coming days, per Public Health.
Public Health also released the following updated COVID-19 statistics Thursday:
New COVID-19 cases reported in L.A. County in the past 24 hours: 1,378
Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 1,208,024
New deaths related to COVID-19 reported: 101
Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 22,304
Hospitalizations countywide: 1,056; 30% of whom are in the ICU.
Hospitalizations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as of March 10: 6, with 1,171 discharged since the onset of the pandemic.
COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley in the past 24 hours: 56, 45 of which came from the city of Santa Clarita.
Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 26,647
Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV: 276
The numbers of SCV cases, including all area health care providers’ daily figures and those at Pitchess Detention Center, broken down into region, are as follows:
City of Santa Clarita: 19,548
Unincorporated – Acton: 456
Unincorporated – Agua Dulce: 259
Unincorporated – Bouquet Canyon: 45
Unincorporated – Canyon Country: 805
Unincorporated – Castaic: 3,634 (majority of Castaic cases come from Pitchess Detention Center, exact number unavailable)
Unincorporated – Lake Hughes: 40
Unincorporated – Newhall: 66
Unincorporated – Placerita Canyon: 1
Unincorporated – San Francisquito Canyon/Bouquet Canyon: 15
Unincorporated – Sand Canyon: 17
Unincorporated – Saugus: 132
Unincorporated – Saugus/Canyon Country: 39
Unincorporated – Stevenson Ranch: 1,086
Unincorporated – Val Verde: 320
Unincorporated – Valencia: 184