L.A. City and County COVID-19 Weekly Update (October 5, 2020)

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

No Indication of a Labor Day Surge

At the beginning of the week of September 28, 2020, County officials noted that the Los Angeles region did not appear to experience a surge in COVID-19 cases related to the Labor Day holiday weekend similar to those experienced after the Memorial Day and July 4th holiday weekends, as many had feared.

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However, as of Tuesday, September 29, 2020, the County’s metrics on the State’s Blueprint tracker had increased slightly and placed the County back in Tier 1 ranges, putting the County a step back in its reopening plan, as counties must remain in a lower tier range for two consecutive weeks in order to move into the next Tier on the state’s tracking system. The County’s adjusted case rate was 7.3 (above the Tier 2 threshold of 7) and its test positivity rate was 2.9%. While the lower test positivity rate is in the Tier 3 range, counties are placed in a tier based on their most restrictive criteria.

In addition, at a briefing on Wednesday, September 30, 2020, County Director of the Department of Health Services Dr. Christina Ghaly noted that the County’s transmission rate had been steadily rising. As of Wednesday, it was at 1.0, slightly down from 1.2 last week but up from a range below 1.0 in most of August and September.

Reopening Additional Sectors and Ongoing Enforcement

Despite certain delays in broader reopening under the State’s Blueprint, the County still took steps to reopen certain additional sectors. Chiefly, at the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, the Board voted to allow additional reopenings that had been possible under the state’s Blueprint but had not yet been permitted. These newly permitted sectors are:

  • Cardrooms for outdoor only
    • Necessary indoor activities (such as handling cash) are permitted for staff only
    • No food/beverage service at tables permitted
  • Indoor shopping malls (as of October 7, 2020)
    • Up to 25% occupancy
    • Food courts and common areas closed
    • (Outdoor activity is already permitted)
  • Nail salons for indoor activity
    • Up to 25% capacity
    • (Outdoor activity is already permitted)
  • Outdoor playgrounds
    • With the approval of the cities where they are located and the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation
    • Masks are required, and parents are encouraged to ensure physical distancing

In addition to these newly reopened sectors, the Board of Supervisors approved a motion directing the L.A. County Department of Public Health (DPH) to determine a process, a date and protocols for permitting breweries and wineries to reopen for outdoor operations. The motion calls for this reopening to begin by Tuesday, October 6, 2020.

On enforcement, L.A. County Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer noted on Wednesday, September 30, 2020, that while compliance is very good overall—particularly in the restaurant industry—fitness centers and houses of worship, many of which continue to operate indoors, have been the largest source of complaints and violations. And on Wednesday, September 30, 2020, several grocery stores in Los Angeles were cited by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) for failure to comply with COVID-19-related safety requirements. According to Cal/OSHA, the stores “were cited for failing to protect workers from exposure to COVID-19 because they did not update their workplace safety plans to properly address hazards related to the virus.”

Education

Also at its meeting on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve a motion, presented by Board Chair Supervisor Kathryn Barger and Supervisor Janice Hahn, to begin moving to reopen County schools immediately.

The motion directs the DPH to implement a school waiver program for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) through second grade, starting at 30 schools per week, and to report back weekly on any impacts. Schools must follow all safety protocols and must operate in cohorts (12 students and two teachers).

Applications will be available as of Monday, October 5, 2020. Decisions will be based on the school’s ability to comply with County and State protocols.

Dr. Ferrer noted that all schools are now permitted to provide in-person instruction for high-needs students, and approximately 500 schools serving over 18,000 such students have already reopened.

L.A. City Parking Enforcement

On Wednesday, September 30, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council voted to resume parking enforcement in the City. As of October 15, 2020, the L.A. Department of Transportation will begin enforcing parking rules for street-sweeping restrictions, abandoned vehicles, oversize and overnight restrictions, peak-hour and anti-gridlock zones, and expired registrations.

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