L.A. City and County COVID-19 Weekly Update (December 7, 2020)

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

A Dangerous COVID-19 Surge

Last week, Los Angeles County faced an unprecedented rise in new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. The County experienced a record number of new cases, peaking at 10,528 on Sunday, December 6. Just in November, the County had a 225% increase in average daily cases. In addition, the County’s seven-day-average test positivity rate climbed to 9.3%. Test positivity overall during November rose 86%. Hospitalizations have also increased, rising 94% during November, with a record 2,855 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the County as of Sunday, December 6. In a release issued on Thursday, December 3, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health noted that a “continued surge in cases and hospitalizations is not sustainable because as hospitalizations increase sharply, the healthcare system can become overwhelmed.”

The County remains at Tier 1 of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, along with 52 of the state’s 58 counties, covering approximately 99% of the state’s population.

New Restrictions

On Thursday, December 3, Governor Newsom announced the release of a new regional Stay-at-Home Order that adds new restrictions in regions where ICU capacity falls below 15%. The Order will be implemented on a five-region basis (Northern California, Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California).

The Southern California region (including Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura and several other counties) reached the state’s 15% ICU capacity threshold over the weekend, and the new Order’s restrictions went into effect on Sunday, December 6, at 11:59 p.m. As of that date, the Southern California region’s ICU bed capacity was at 10.3%. Given this, the Order triggered the following in Los Angeles:

In regions where the Order is triggered:

  • Bars, wineries and personal services (such as hair and nail salons as well as family entertainment centers and playgrounds) will be forced to close.
  • Retail businesses will be limited to 20% of indoor capacity, and food and drink service will be prohibited at those businesses.
  • Restaurants will be closed for all in-person service but may provide delivery and take-out services.
  • Hotels in affected areas will be permitted to accept or honor out-of-state reservations only “in support of critical infrastructure services.”
  • Public and private gatherings will be prohibited, both indoors and outdoors, except for constitutionally protected religious services and political demonstrations, which shall continue to be permitted outdoors only.
  • Outdoor recreational activities will not be specially restricted by the state, but the state will continue to recognize stricter county limits on group sports and other recreational activities.
  • School reopenings are not affected by the Order. Schools that have reopened under the state’s current waiver process may remain open, and schools may continue to move toward reopening pursuant to the existing Blueprint guidelines.

Some Sectors Can Continue to Operate
The following sectors will be allowed to remain open, subject to appropriate masking and physical distancing, when a remote option is not possible:

  • Critical infrastructure
  • Schools that are already open for in-person learning
  • Nonurgent medical and dental care
  • Child care and pre-K

Hospital Capacity

On Wednesday, December 2, L.A. County Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly announced for the first time that the County was anticipating a shortage of ICU beds over the next four weeks, and that this will require modifications in protocols (including increasing the patient-staff ratio in ICU units). Dr. Ghaly noted that the County’s hospital census showed an 85% increase over the prior two weeks. As noted above, that capacity is now down to 10.3% as of Sunday, December 6.



pursuant to New York DR 2-101(f)

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