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LA County Health Officer Advises Residents To Skip Labor Day Traditions Amid 'Widespread' COVID-19 Transmissions

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Los Angeles County's coronavirus task force delivered its daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic. Read highlights below or watch the full video above.

Los Angeles County officials reported 1,022 new confirmed cases of coronavirus today, bringing the total to at least 241,768 cases countywide. In total, 10,492 cases have been reported in Long Beach and 2,368 in Pasadena (those two cities operate their own health departments).

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Los Angeles County Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis also reported 16 new deaths of COVID-19 patients. The total number of deaths countywide now stands at 5,784 people.

So far, 93% of those who have died had underlying health conditions, Davis said, adding that that also means 7% of the victims did not.

A HOLIDAY WARNING

As Labor Day weekend approaches, Dr. Davis said it's imperative county residents learn from the past several months and "forego our traditional holiday traditions."


"We know for sure that our holiday gatherings, parties and cookouts can result in increases in transmissions, hospitalizations and deaths. The ability for us to reopen more fully relies on everyone doing their part, being smart of their choices, and reducing their risk to exposure to COVID-19 every day."

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Davis advised residents to not gather with people outside their household and consider outdoor activities like hiking or a beach trip — preferably earlier in the day before it's too hot.

"If you're outside of your home and around others, please wear a face covering," he said. "Always use your own utensils, cups, food and drinks, and do not share with others. Avoid crowds and be flexible and willing to change plans or move to a different location if you find yourself in a crowded area."

WHERE L.A. COUNTY STANDS IN STATE'S NEW TIERED SYSTEM

Dr. Davis also outlined the state’s new tiered system and explained how it will help guide the county’s efforts to reopen safely.

L.A. County, like the majority of counties in California, is in Tier One, meaning COVID-19 is widespread.

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L.A. County's test positivity rate is within Tier Two parameters, but because the new case rate remains in Tier One, the county must be considered still in Tier One. (Courtesy Los Angeles County)
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One key threshold the county needs to meet before it could move to Tier Two: getting the seven-day average of new cases per day down to seven cases per 100,000 residents. We’re currently at 13 per 100,000 residents, Davis said.

“Our path forward for recovery depends on us being able to reduce community transmission significantly, so children and teachers can get back to their classrooms and more people can get back to their jobs with as much safety as possible.”

Davis pointed to some key progress the county is making, including that test positivity rates have fallen to 5% — the lowest level since late May.

"This is good news, but we're still seeing way too many cases, indicative of widespread [transmission]," he said.

Hospitalization rates have also seen "a significant decline," Davis said, from about 2,200 per day in mid-July to 1,100 in late August.

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(Courtesy Los Angeles County)
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IMPACT ON LATINO RESIDENTS

Dr. Davis also presented data showing the "disproportionate impact" COVID-19 is having on the county's Latino residents. This was especially evident in the month of July, when case rates reached a record high, represented in yellow in the chart below.

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(Courtesy Los Angeles County)

"Latino or Latinx residents, sadly, have also been more likely to die of COVID-19 than other racial racial or ethnic groups," Davis said.

Death and hospitalization rates have steadily fallen through August, he added.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR REOPENING?

State guidelines now allow for malls to reopen at limited capacity and let barbershops and salons resume indoor operations, but L.A. County has yet to approve that or establish its own protocols.

County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said leaders will discuss that with Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer tomorrow and may have an announcement to make "hopefully by early afternoon."

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