County enters yellow tier

Infectious disease experts say the only path to community or “herd” immunity is for Los Angeles County to at least double the number of residents vaccinated. Signal file photo

Los Angeles County moved Thursday into the least-restrictive yellow tier in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy and modified its health officer order to allow for more openings across the county.  

Despite the increased presence of COVID-19 variants, the county met the relevant criteria over the past two weeks to move into the yellow tier, according to Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Public Health Department.  

In Los Angeles County, the adjusted case rate is 1.6 new cases per 100,000 people, and the seven-day average daily test positivity rate stands at 2.7%. In areas with the fewest health resources, the test positivity rate is 2.8%, she reported. 

The county’s modified health officer order allowed for increased occupancy limits across a wide range of sectors and required safety modifications. 

The following facilities can expand indoor occupancy to 50%: 

  • Fitness facilities. 
  • Indoor dining. 
  • Card rooms and race tracks. 
  • Movie theaters. 
  • Family entertainment centers.  
  • Breweries, wineries and craft distilleries. 

Meanwhile, office-based businesses and workplaces have a 75% indoor capacity limit, unless all staff are vaccinated. 

“Outdoor live performances and events can increase occupancy to 67%. While the occupancy limits at indoor live events depend on the total capacity at each venue and the vaccination and testing status of attendees,” Ferrer said, noting the state continues to require distancing and masking in all cases. 

Bars, amusement parks, museums and aquariums, private and formal gathering, outdoor gatherings at community sporting events also have increased capacities. 

“I think of vaccines as a layer of protection against all of these risks,” Ferrer said of risks including increased intermingling, the prevalence of COVID variants, and natural immunity wearing off. “If we get enough vaccinations in enough arms across this county, with enough speed, we can protect ourselves and others from all of these risks while we get back to doing many of the things we love without being afraid.” 

Live events and performances have the potential for 100% occupancy. 

“At live events and performances, fully vaccinated visitors from out of state are permitted and fully vaccinated spectators can be seated in vaccination-only sections up to 100% occupancy without distancing requirements,” Ferrer said. 

The county was in the red tier six weeks ago. 

Updated statistics 

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: 414  

Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 1,234,746  

New deaths related to COVID-19 reported: 19  

Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 23,996  

Hospitalizations countywide: 387; 24% of whom are in the ICU.    

Hospitalizations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as of May 6: 2, with 1,229 discharged since the onset of the pandemic.  

COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley in the past 24 hours: 10 

Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 27,678   

Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV: 302         

Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the city of Santa Clarita as of April 18: 48.6%     

Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the SCV as of April 18: 46.5%     

Learn more about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at or by calling the county Public Health Department’s vaccine call center at 833-540-0473

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