L.A. City and County COVID-19 Weekly Update (February 16, 2021)

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

COVID-19 Rates and Hospitalizations Continue to Fall

COVID-19 infection rates, hospitalizations and fatalities continue to fall in L.A. County. New infections are down 77% since the beginning of the year, hospitalizations are down 42% and fatalities are down 45%. As of Friday, February 12, new case rates are approximately 3,500 per day, down from the well over 6,000 per-day rate in much of December and January.

Fig-1-2-16-21.png

However, at a press conference on Monday, February 8, County Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer reported that community transmission remains high and increased transmission could lead to the more rapid spread of new, more contagious COVID-19 variants.

Despite improvements, the County remains in Tier 1 of the State’s Blueprint, along with 52 of the state’s 58 counties. As of Tuesday, February 16, the state’s adjusted case rate for the County was 29 cases per 100,000 residents. The number must be below 7 cases per 100,000 in order to move to Tier 2.

Hospital Capacity

Last week, hospitalizations fell by more than 1,000, although according to the County Department of Public Health, hospitalizations remain “4 times higher than pre-surge daily hospitalizations, when between mid-September and late-October the daily number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 was under 800 people.”

In addition, the percentage of hospital patients with COVID-19 is dropping, down from over 55%, now representing one-third of hospital patients. ICU rates are falling more slowly, down to 70% from over 80%. At a press conference on Monday, February 8, County Director of Health Services Dr. Christina Ghaly said that hospital diversion rates “have stabilized” to rates of approximately 5% and added that elective procedures in the County will resume shortly.

Vaccinations

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Monday, February 15, that the City is expecting to receive only 58,000 doses of vaccine this week and therefore will “prioritize” second-dose appointments until more supply is available.

Last week, the City and County also limited vaccination appointments for most of the week to individuals receiving their second doses due to receiving fewer doses of the vaccine than had been expected. According to the City, it was forced to close five large vaccinations sites on Thursday, February 11, due to a lack of vaccine supply. This closure was originally scheduled to begin on Friday, February 12, but was pushed up when available doses ran out. At a press conference on Wednesday, February 10, Garcetti said that the City had administered 295,252 vaccine doses at City vaccination sites and the City is now averaging 13,051 daily vaccinations (a 27% increase over last week). He also said that 98% of all doses received by the City were administered.

As of Friday, February 12, the LA County Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) reported that the County had administered more than 1.35 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and 298,875 people have received second doses. Currently, 2.2 million people in L.A. County are eligible for vaccinations, including health care workers, long-term care residents and individuals over 65.

On February 10, the County announced that in line with the Governor’s January 25 announcement, “three additional [categories of] frontline workers should be vaccinated as part of Phase 1B Tier 1: Education and Childcare workers, Food and Agriculture workers, and Emergency Services workers.” The CDPH is developing a plan to vaccinate these additional groups and expects to begin vaccinations in two to three weeks. The Department “estimates more than 547,000 people are working in the Food and Agriculture sector and will be eligible for the vaccine, 668,000 people in the Childcare and Education sector and 154,000 law enforcement and emergency responders in our County [will also be eligible].”

L.A. County Moves to Reopen Elementary Schools

As COVID-19 infection rates have eased in L.A. County, the CDPH announced on Monday, February 15, that it was moving to permit the reopening of elementary schools in grades Transitional Kindergarten (TK) through 6. This reopening comes as the County is now below the state threshold of 25 cases per 100,000 residents, based on data released by the state on Tuesday, February 16. All schools wishing to reopen will be required to submit plans to the CDPH and the California Department of Public Health “certifying that they have implemented a full range of safety measures to permit a safe reopening.” The County is slated to provide additional details on February 16.

manatt-black

ATTORNEY ADVERTISING

pursuant to New York DR 2-101(f)

© 2021 Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP.

All rights reserved