For Immediate Release:
March 31, 2023
With today’s end of countywide COVID-19 emergency declarations, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) is aligning county safety measures with federal and state COVID-19 guidance, while continuing to require a few common-sense measures at worksites, educational institutions and healthcare facilities to reduce COVID-19-related disruptions and protect the people at highest risk of severe illness.
At worksites and educational settings, COVID-19 isolation and notification guidelines for staff are set by CAL/OSHA. Public Health’s newly issued school guidance align with both CAL/OSHA and state department of public health recommendations, as follows:
· School employees (as with all other employees subject to CAL/OSHA regulations) who have tested positive must isolate at home for at least 5 days and can only return to their worksite between days 6-10 if they are fever free and wearing a mask when around others. Students who have tested positive are also required to isolate at home for 5 days and, if returning to school between days 6-10, should wear a well-fitting mask when indoors around others.
· Schools are required to notify employees who are close contacts of a confirmed case and provide exposed workers with free testing. While schools are not required to notify parents of an exposed student, Public Health strongly recommends that schools notify the parents of students who were exposed to a case of COVID-19 during its infectious period at school.
Public Health also is maintaining its robust tracking of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, and requiring schools, worksites, skilled nursing facilities and other entities to report clusters of COVID-19 cases. Reporting allows for early intervention to slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce disruptions, protect vulnerable residents and assist facilities to improve their infection control practices.
While for many residents and workers, masking and vaccination protective measures are now recommended and not required, because there are so many vulnerable people in healthcare settings, enhanced protections among healthcare workers in Los Angeles County remain in place.
Healthcare workers must wear protective face coverings when providing patient care or in patient care areas. Requirements for masking by visitors or patients is at the discretion of the facility, although Public Health strongly recommends that facilities continue to have their patients and visitors wear masks in public spaces. All Public Health clinics and vaccination sites will require that everyone at these sites wear a well-fitting mask and free masks will remain available for workers, patients and visitors.
In addition, new healthcare employees will need to comply with the existing vaccination requirements; all currently employed health care workers have completed their primary series and one booster dose or received an exemption from their facility. There are similar federal requirements for healthcare workers in facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid funding.
The guidelines for healthcare facilities will be reassessed by September to take into account any changes in U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) vaccination guidance.
Most public health response measures are not affected by the ending of local COVID-19 emergency declarations. Public Health is committed to continuing to provide free access to vaccinations and boosters, testing and treatment to Los Angeles County residents, regardless of insurance or immigration status.
For information about vaccines, to access testing, and/or to receive therapeutics, please call 1-833-540-0473, seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
For more information on other non-health related changes with the lifting of the LA County emergency COVID declarations, visit lacounty.gov/covid-emergency-ending.
“I offer my heartfelt condolences and wishes of peace and healing to anyone who has lost a loved one to COVID-19,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.Ed., Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “With no new strains proliferating, I am optimistic we will remain in the Low Community Level this spring and my hope is that our hospitalization and death rates continue to decline. I would love to see our lowest-ever numbers since the pandemic started – that has not happened yet and in order for it to happen, we will have to take advantage of all the tools and resources that helped us get to where we are today and to be aware of how our actions affect those in our community who are most vulnerable to severe illness.”
The 7-day average case count for COVID-19 dropped nearly 19% from the week prior from 615 last week to an average of 501 this week. Reported average daily deaths also dropped 32.5%, from 12 last week to 8 this week. The 7-day average of new COVID-19 positive hospital admissions is 52 this week, down from 67 last week. The 7-day average for test positivity remained stable at 3.2%.
Los Angeles County remains in the CDC’s Low COVID-19 Community Level for the 11th consecutive week. This includes a 7-day case rate of 34 new cases per 100,000 people. The 7-day total for new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people is currently 3.7. And the 7-day average of the proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients is now 2.3%.
As of Tuesday, March 28, there have been 35,994 deaths in Los Angeles County.