News Release
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For Immediate Release:

March 03, 2021

COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations Decline; Public Health Planning for Additional School Re-openings and Increases Access to Vaccine

116 New Deaths and 1,759 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 116 new deaths and 1,759 new cases of COVID-19. To date, Public Health identified 1,195,913 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 21,669 deaths.

The seven-day average number of cases by episode date has decreased to less than 900 per day as of February 23.

There are 1,476 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 31% of these people are in the ICU. As cases decline, the average number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 decline, though the County is not back to pre-surge levels. In Early November before the surge, there were around 800 daily hospitalizations and now daily hospitalizations are averaging 1,500.

The seven-day average number of daily deaths continues to decline yet remains far too high. On January 13, the average peaked to 254 daily deaths, and today, as with far too many days during the week, over 100 deaths are reported. In early-November, average daily deaths averaged 14. It is our hope that as hospitalizations decrease, we will witness less people dying.

Of the 116 new deaths reported today, 32 people that passed away were over the age of 80, 39 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, 21 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, eight people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49, and one person who died was between the ages of 18 and 29. Thirteen deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach and two deaths were reported by the City of Pasadena.

Testing results are available for nearly 5,860,000 individuals with 19% of people testing positive. Today's daily test positivity rate is 2.6%.

L.A. County is very close to meeting the metric thresholds for the less restrictive red tier in the State's Blueprint for a Safety Economy. This week, L.A. County's adjusted case rate dropped to 7.2 new cases per 100,000 people and the test positivity rate is 3.5%. Our case rate needs to remain at or below 7 new cases per 100,000 residents for two consecutive weeks to move to the less restrictive red tier. If L.A. County moves into the red tier next week and stays in that tier for two consecutive weeks, schools will then be eligible to reopen in-person learning for students in grades 7 through 12.

Currently, schools throughout the County have reopened for high needs students and for grades TK through 6. As of March 1, 1,799 schools are providing on-campus services for high needs students. This includes over 96,000 students and over 35,000 staff. Thirty-four school districts and 303 individual private and charter schools are approved for in-person instruction of students in grades TK through 6. Nine school districts and 91 individual private and charter schools are still pending review of the COVID-19 safety plan.

For schools that are already open for in-person instruction for grades TK through 6 and would like to open for grades 7 through 12 once the County moves to the red tier, they will need to update their state COVID-19 safety plan to include grades 7 through 12 and repost it to the school website. They will need to submit to Public Health a separate notification and Reopening Protocol for each school that will be reopening for these grades or expanding reopening for additional students. Public Health will contact each school separately to do a site visit and offer technical assistance. For schools who have not yet reopened for grades TK through 6, they will need to submit their COVID-19 safety plan to CDPH and to Public Health for review and approval prior to reopening. They will also need to submit, to County Public Health, the required completed county school re-opening documents.

While we remain vigilant about the potential for outbreaks in schools, as at all other work sites, the data both nationally and here in L.A. County indicate that schools are not high-risk settings in terms of transmission of COVID-19 when, and only when, they are following safety requirements and protocols.

Public Health is working in partnership with Los Angeles County school districts to establish the Public Health Ambassador Program for students and parents. This program will actively engage school communities in preventing and reducing the spread of COVID-19 by empowering students and parents as essential partners in each school’s prevention effort. For parents, the program offers a one-time 90-minute virtual session that covers proven safety practices for home and in the broader community. Student Ambassadors meet weekly and learn about the impact of COVID-19 on wellbeing, and about social determinants of health and how the pandemic has impacted some groups more than others. In the first session with students, they were asked about their experiences over the past year and how COVID-19 affected their lives. They expressed feeling alone and distant, concerned about spreading COVID-19 to family members, the effects of job loss, and mourning the loss of family members. The responses include:

"The tragedy so many families have experienced from COVID-19 is overwhelming. We wish everyone mourning a loved one or friend healing and peace,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “The continued high number of people passing away each day is a heartbreaking reminder that this pandemic is far from over and we need to continue our diligence in masking and distancing whenever we are around others. This pandemic has been extraordinarily difficult for so many, and we have heard young people tell us in their own words how they’re feeling in particularly powerful ways. This is why we all must use every tool we have to reduce transmission, to vaccinate our population and to get to a place where all children can go back to school. Our children have been through something that none of us experienced as children, and we owe them all of our support and effort so that they can be as safe as possible as we move towards a more hopeful future."

The Public Health Lab has tested 679 specimens of COVID-19 virus in L.A. County to assess the presence of mutations -- with more than 400 of these sequences performed since January 1 of this year. To date, Public Health has confirmed a total of 27 cases of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 U.K. variant and one case of the P.2 Brazil variant in Los Angeles County. All of the U.K. variant cases have been identified since January 15, and the first case of the P.2 variant from Brazil was identified late last week. In addition, there have been 239 California variant cases with the vast majority of these cases identified since December 1 of last year. In the most recent run of 55 specimens in the Public Health laboratory, 31 (56%) included the 5-mutations characteristic of the California variant, so this strain continues to be widely circulating in Los Angeles County. There have been no cases identified in L.A. County with the South African variant.

Los Angeles County continues work mitigating barriers and increasing access to vaccine to eligible residents and workers in the hardest hit communities. Because navigating an online registration system is a major barrier for many people, Public Health is working with a number of community leaders and organizations who are handling the registration process for those who are eligible and are not able to easily use online registration. In addition, the Public Health Call Center is also able to register people without requiring individuals to go through the online interface. Approximately 3,000 appointments this week at the County run sites are being filled through these efforts. Many community vaccination partners are also eliminating on-line registration requirements for their patients, and helping individuals register on site.

Mobility limitations and transportation are a challenge to many people as well, and we are continuing to send mobile teams, with our partners Curative, to senior residential communities, especially in areas that have had low vaccination rates. The County is coordinating with ride share companies to provide additional transportation options for people eligible to be vaccinated. We are currently distributing 1,500 Uber round-trip rides to public health clinics and community vaccination partners for patients who do not have transportation to and from the vaccination sites to use.

We know that for many, needing to provide a government-issued ID is a barrier to being vaccinated, so there are many options for verifying your age, where you live and where you work when you come to a vaccine appointment that do not require government issued ID. Vaccinations are always free and available to all immigrants. Getting vaccinated doesn’t impact current or future immigration status and doesn’t affect green card eligibility. It is not considered in a public charge test. As a reminder, medical information, including information about vaccinations, is private and not shared with immigration officials.

For information about vaccine appointments in L.A. County and when your turn is coming up, to sign up for a vaccination newsletter, and much more, visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish).

County Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional actions you can take to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.

Please see additional information below:

Laboratory Confirmed Total Cases 1195913*

Deaths 21669

Age Group (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

Gender (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

Race/Ethnicity (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

Hospitalization

Deaths Race/Ethnicity (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

CITY / COMMUNITY** Cases (Case Rate)

These numbers are subject to change based on further investigation. 88 cases and 1 death previously reported were not in Public Health's jurisdiction. * Means that case numbers include cases associated with correctional facility outbreaks located in the city/community. **Rate is crude and is per 100,000. This represents the number of cases per 100,000 people and allows for the proportional comparison of cities of different sizes.

Always check with trusted sources for the latest accurate information about novel coronavirus:

The Department of Public Health is committed to promoting health equity and ensuring optimal health and well-being for all 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,500 employees and has an annual budget of $1.2 billion. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, please visit www.publichealth .lacounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/lacounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/lapublichealth, facebook.com/lapublichealth, instagram.com/lapublichealth and youtube.com/lapublichealth.




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