California’s COVID-19 case rely and hospitalizations are declining, however L.A. County’s high public well being official nonetheless isn’t able to ease up on restrictions.
Public Well being Director Barbara Ferrer on Tuesday warned that lifting restrictions earlier than getting an correct image on an infection charges following the Labor Day holiday weekend might show detrimental.
“It will be silly to begin reopenings now, solely to have to shut down as a result of our numbers are shifting within the mistaken path,” stated Ferrer on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors assembly. She was addressing questions from supervisors and the general public concerning the continuing closures of indoor malls and different companies that, below state pointers, are allowed to reopen with restrictions.
The rising stress to reopen comes amid indicators that the pandemic is in retreat. However the county has but to indicate sufficient progress to raise most restrictions.
The county, which has recorded greater than 254,680 infections and 6,232 deaths, has a seven-day common for optimistic infections of four.three%. Whereas that quantity might transfer it from Tier 1 for widespread danger of transmission to Tier 2 for substantial danger, the case rely is 9.6 per 100,000 folks — nonetheless too excessive to maneuver from the state’s most restrictive tier. Moreover, county Well being Providers Director Dr. Christina Ghaly stated that 1000’s of testing appointments have gone unfilled in current weeks, all whereas the county is pushing for residents to get examined following the vacation.
Ferrer famous that roughly 500,000 folks visited L.A. County bars through the first week they were reopened on June 18. By July 1, the case rely had jumped to 2,000 circumstances a day. That surge has additionally been linked to Memorial Day weekend and a blanket reopening technique within the county that led to a significant resurgence in exercise.
Whereas wineries and breweries can open outside operations in counties within the state’s most restrictive stage, L.A. County has not but made the allowance. Ferrer stated that locations the place ingesting is a focus typically immediate co-mingling at a higher stage than eateries, and pose a higher danger of accelerating transmission.
As soon as a county progresses from one tier to a different, it will probably nonetheless transfer backwards, however it’s unclear how shortly. San Diego County, for instance, is at the moment reporting a case rely that doesn’t meet its tier necessities. However state Well being and Human Providers Director Dr. Mark Ghaly stated Tuesday that the county, which has been on Tier 2 for 2 weeks, has not but moved again to Tier 1.
State officers are working with San Diego County to know what led to the enhance, which seems to be pushed partly by a surge in cases at San Diego State University, whereas taking considerations from native communities into consideration earlier than making any adjustments.
“Actually, as we see the ups and downs of transmission we must always count on a county to maneuver to a extra restrictive tier,” Mark Ghaly stated.
When the state launched its new reopening system, officers stated county should maintain regular with a tier’s metrics — which give attention to a seven day common of optimistic infections and case rely by inhabitants measurement — for 3 consecutive weeks earlier than progressing. However there isn’t any clear timeline for the way lengthy it’d take to maneuver backwards by way of the tiered system if a county doesn’t meet these required knowledge factors.
Additionally, a county should stay on Tier 2 for at the least two consecutive weeks earlier than it’s allowed to reopen all colleges.
The state’s new system has prompted questions on why sure sectors are allowed to open earlier than others. Most just lately, the California Health Alliance, which represents almost 300 companies, filed a lawsuit in opposition to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s measures, arguing that the health trade has been unfairly focused. The state’s present guidelines permit health facilities to start opening indoor companies at minimal capability as soon as a county reaches Tier 2.
As is the case in L.A. County, a county can all the time select to impose additional restrictions past the state’s prohibitions.
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