L.A. City and County COVID-19 Weekly Update (March 15, 2021)

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

Last week, the number of new COVID-19 cases in the County dropped below the threshold of the State’s Blueprint in order to move into Tier 2 (the Red Tier). As of Tuesday, March 9, 2021, the state’s adjusted case rate for the County was 5.2 cases per 100,000 residents. This was the first time the County had fallen below the Tier 2 threshold of 7 cases per 100,000, and is also below the state threshold based on its new Vaccine Equity metric of 10 cases per 100,000 residents. On Friday, March 12, 2021, the L.A. County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) announced that because of this state policy change, L.A. County would be moving into Tier 2 as of Monday, March 15, 2021.

In Tier 2, several sectors are permitted to reopen: 


Indoor dining at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less

  • 8 feet between tables
  • 1 household per table, maximum 6 people

Outdoor dining with modifications

  • Up to 3 households per table, maximum 6 people

Schools in all grades TK–12, in compliance with County and State guidance

Movie theaters at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less

  • Reserved seating required

Indoor gyms, fitness centers and yoga studios at 10% capacity

Museums, zoos and aquariums at 25% indoor capacity

Retail and personal care services at 50% indoor capacity

  • Indoor food courts at malls at 25% capacity

Institutes of higher education may reopen all permitted activities, with safety precautions; however, residential housing remains closed under current restrictions

Private gatherings are now permitted indoors with individuals from up to 3 separate households 


In addition, under new state guidance issued on Monday, March 8, 2021, outdoor sports and live concerts, as well as theme parks, are permitted to reopen at limited capacities and with restrictions. Guidance is available here for theme parks and here for professional sports.

Vaccinations

As of Friday, March 12, 2021, the County reported administering 2,741,050 total vaccine doses: 1,842,050 first doses and 899,527 second doses. This means that almost 10% of eligible County residents (over age 16) have been fully vaccinated.

On Monday, March 15, 2021, vaccine eligibility expanded to include individuals ages 16–64 with significant underlying conditions, including:

  • Cancer, with a current weakened immune system
  • Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above
  • Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen dependent
  • Down syndrome
  • Solid organ transplant, leading to a weakened immune system
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies (but not hypertension)
  • Severe obesity with a BMI of more than 40
  • Type 2 diabetes with an A1c level greater than 7.5% 

This newly eligible category also includes individuals with a disability that (i) makes serious illness from COVID-19 likely; (ii) would, if the person were positive for COVID-19, limit their ability to receive care vital to their well-being and survival; or (iii) makes the treatment for COVID-19 particularly challenging.

In addition, the L.A. Veterans Administration (VA) has now opened up vaccine eligibility to all veterans in the County.

Education

As L.A. County moves into Tier 2, additional school reopenings are permitted. Schools may now reopen for grades 7–12 in the County.

On Friday, March 12, 2021, the L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD) and UTLA, the District’s teachers union, announced that they had reached a deal to reopen LAUSD schools by mid-April.

More information about school reopenings is available in L.A. County’s TK-12 Schools COVID-19 Toolkit and on LACDPH’s Safe Schools for All website.

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