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Census Field Operations In LA County Are On Pause Again

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Census takers were supposed to start visiting homes across LA County today, but safety concerns over COVID-19 have local census officials delaying plans once again.

Last week, San Bernardino and Ventura counties reopened their offices and began the process known as “Update Leave.” That means census workers visit remote areas to update addresses and drop off individual questionnaires at homes. Today, Orange County is also resuming this work.

But according to Patricia Ramos with the L.A. Census Office, it isn’t safe to send census takers into L.A. neighborhoods yet—even though workers won’t need to interact with any residents.

“The hold-up is not dependent on the Census Bureau, it’s dependent on health authorities saying that it is okay to resume various types of activities,” Ramos said, adding that the L.A. County Health Department hasn’t given the go-ahead. We’ve reached out to the Health Department and will update if we hear back.

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The delay means other counties will have more time to conduct Update Leave before the new census deadline of October 31st. Potentially, that could mean L.A.—already considered one of the hardest-to-count areas in the country—could have a less accurate final count.

That isn’t something Ramos is concerned about.

“For the moment we’re still on pace, we still have time,” Ramos said,

Field operations in L.A. will be considered on a week-by-week basis, but when they do resume, workers will be provided with five reusable face masks, new gloves every day, and two ounces—a quarter cup—of hand sanitizer.