L.A. City and County COVID-19 Weekly Update (January 19, 2021)

CA Health and Government COVID-19 Guidance: Week in Review

COVID-19 Rates Plateau, Although Pause May Be Temporary

The County’s seven-day average test positivity rate has declined from a high of nearly 22% on January 6, 2021, to 16.5% as of Monday, January 18, 2021. While this remains significantly above the rate on November 1, 2020, of 3.8%, and the average rate throughout 2020 of below 10%, the continued downward trend is encouraging.

While some indicators appear to be moving in the right direction, overall infection levels in the County remain high. According to a report released by L.A. County Department of Health Services scientists on January 13, 2021, an estimated 1 in 3 Angelenos has been infected with COVID-19 during the course of the pandemic. In addition, because current daily new case numbers remain above an average of 12,000 per day, and given a hospitalization rate of 10-12%, new infections and hospitalizations are anticipated to rise in the coming weeks. In a release issued on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health predicted that, based on current new infection rates, over 1,000 people per day will likely require hospitalization in the next few weeks.

Local media outlets are reporting discussions about increased restrictions in order to control additional spread, especially related to concerns about the spread of the new, more contagious U.K. COVID-19 variant. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed on Saturday, January 16, 2021, that the U.K. variant had been detected “in an individual who recently spent time in Los Angeles County.” At a press conference on Thursday, January 14, 2021, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti noted that these restrictions in the City could include further restrictions on outdoor gyms, which have been allowed to open at 50% capacity, and indoor malls and retail, which are supposed to be open at only 20% capacity. However, no additional restrictions have been announced.

Given the current outbreak of COVID-19 in the region, the County remains in Tier 1 of the State’s Blueprint, along with 54 of the state’s 58 counties, covering approximately 99% of the state’s population.

Hospital Capacity

The County (and the Southern California region as a whole) started the year with an ICU capacity of 0.0%.

For the first time since November 2020, hospitalizations dropped slightly on several days this week, although hospitals in the County remain significantly overburdened. Overall, the county’s hospitalizations have been trending down. On Monday, January 18, 2021, hospitalizations were down to 7,328, having remained over 8,000 for much of the prior two weeks.

In order to better use hospital resources, health officials have focused on increasing the pace of patient discharges. On January 12, 2021, Secretary of California Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly said that since December 31, 2020, the state has worked with the County to discharge over 400 patients to lower and more appropriate levels of care. In comparison, the current hospital census just for COVID-19 patients is just under 8,000, or 20 times that number, and daily admissions are exceeding 800.


On January 18, 2021, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis announced that she signed an Executive Order directing the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to make COVID-19 vaccination appointments available to residents age 65 and older beginning on January 21, 2021.

In addition, the County remains focused on vaccinations for all individuals in “Phase 1A” (healthcare workers and long-term care residents) before moving to “Phase 1B” (“frontline essential workers”). Vaccinations are anticipated to be widely available for Phase 1B in February.

In a release last week, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported that “as of Tuesday, more than 194,000 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to those in Phase 1A. In addition, more than 44,000 second doses have been administered.”



pursuant to New York DR 2-101(f)

© 2024 Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP.

All rights reserved