County touts reopening: ‘We can and we should feel joy’

Los Angeles County Seal.

After more than a year of stay-at-home orders amid the pandemic, Los Angeles County celebrated the full reopening of the state Tuesday.

“At long last, the day that so many of us have been waiting for has finally arrived,” county Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said during a press conference Tuesday, calling the last year and a half both difficult and heartbreaking, as she thanked frontline workers, businesses, residents and community partners, all of whom worked together to flatten the curve.

“Simply put, we have faced terrible loss and sacrifice, but there’s also been tremendous strength,” Solis added. “I have watched firsthand as communities have come together across this county, despite being physically apart, to meet the needs of our residents.”

At its peak, the county lost 277 residents per day to COVID-19, with more than 15,000 cases reported daily. Now, death rates have dropped into the single digits, while daily cases are averaging around 150.

“Today, parts of our lives will go back to something that feels almost normal — we can and we should feel joy,” county Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said, adding that the county’s figures are lower than any other metro area of its size across the nation.

While the reopening symbolizes the culmination of a year of hard work and sacrifice, Solis and Ferrer went on to remind residents that the hard work must continue in order to keep case rates down.

“We need to be mindful that the virus has not become less lethal — if anything, recent mutations have created more infectious and deadly variants, potentially capable of causing great devastation,” Ferrer added. “And while vaccination provides powerful protection, many people are not yet vaccinated.”

As of Friday, more than 9.9 million vaccine doses have been administered countywide, with 65.9% of residents 16 and older having received at least one dose.

Here in the Santa Clarita Valley, 63.6% of residents have received at least one dose, while 66.5%, or 117,538, of city of Santa Clarita residents have been vaccinated.

Ferrer stressed the importance of continuing to get residents vaccinated, as well as those residents who are not yet vaccinated continuing to be careful and wear masks, and those who are sick continuing to take steps to prevent spreading of the virus.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also addressed the state’s reopening Tuesday, noting, “As we look ahead to better days, we will continue to look out for one another, redoubling our support to those hit hardest by the pandemic and making unprecedented investments to address California’s most persistent challenges, so that the entire state comes roaring back together.”

Public Health officials also released the following updated COVID-19 statistics Tuesday:

New COVID-19 cases reported in L.A. County in the past 24 hours: 210

Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 1,246,619

New deaths related to COVID-19 reported: 6

Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 24,416

Hospitalizations countywide: 218; 20% of which are in the ICU.

Hospitalizations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as of May 26: 0, with 1,239 discharged since the onset of the pandemic.

COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley in the past 24 hours: 7, all of which came from the city of Santa Clarita.

Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 27,972

Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV as of June 14: 305

Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the city of Santa Clarita as of June 11: 66.5%

Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the SCV as of June 11: 63.6%

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