LA County is preparing for a major reopening as it achieves a yellow color

The remarkable restoration of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County reached a new milestone on Tuesday when the region in California was placed in the least restrictive category of the reopening system.

Going to the yellow level clears the way for the country’s most populous county to tackle its economy as widely as possible, which means businesses and venues, including gyms, movie theaters, amusement parks, stadiums and museums, can operate higher. capacity.

And some of the last indoor spaces that have yet to be vacated for reopening, including bars that don’t serve food, saunas and steam baths, will be able to do this later this week.

While state-level mandates determine its allowable level, counties have the option to impose additional restrictions – this has been done regularly in LA County throughout the pandemic.

At Monday’s briefing, however, Barbara Ferrer, director of public health, said the county was “quite significantly aligned with the direction of the state”.

“We just want to make sure that wherever you go, you can always keep at least six feet away from others so that everyone always wears their mask properly – except vaccinated people and a handful of people. … activities – and this infection control is still evident everywhere that people will be where they mix, ”he said. “So we still need to protect our workers. We still need to protect the children. “

Ferrer said the county plans to issue a health officials ordinance in connection with wider reopenings that take effect on Thursday.

What is the level of the county based on three indicators: the proportion of new coronavirus cases, adjusted for the number of tests performed; the positive recovery rate of the tests performed; and a health-equity indicator was used to ensure that the positive test rate for poorer communities was not significantly higher than the county’s total.

Counties must record two one-week rating data to move to a less restrictive level and remain at the same level for at least three weeks before moving again.

To reach the yellow level, the adjusted daily rate of new cases is less than 2 / 100,000 people, total test positivity is less than 2%, and health equity is less than 2.2%.

The test positivity of LA County has been in the yellow range for about a month, but only last week the proportion of corrected cases fell below the required threshold.

Nevertheless, at 1.9, the county’s ratio was barely in the qualification range – even a slight regression threatened to delay progress.

But the county’s adjusted case ratio continued to decline, to 1.6, according to state data released Tuesday.

“We did a very decent job looking at our case number,” Ferrer said. “I think people are really investing at this point in progressing our recovery.”

LA is one of seven counties to reach the last rung of California’s reopening ladder.

Before the week, only four of the state’s 58 counties – Alpine, Sierra, Lassen and Mendocino – had gotten this far.

But the yellow club has almost doubled since then, with LA, San Francisco and Trinity counties all advancing this week.

Thirty-nine counties belong to the orange layer, which is the second most permissible category in California’s four-level, color-coded reopening plan, and 12 counties belong to the stricter red layer. Currently, no part of the state is of the most restrictive purple standard.

Across California, the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations has dropped dramatically as a result of the fall and winter waves that have wreaked havoc across the country.

Last week, the state reported an average of 1,760 new cases a day, a 25% decrease from two weeks ago, according to data compiled by The Times.

The number of coronavirus-positive patients in California hospitals – which exceeded 21,000 at the peak of the surge – dropped to 1,626 on Sunday.

And the state has experienced a similarly rapid fall in how many residents pay the final price of a pandemic. Last week, an average of 66 Californians died from COVID-19 per day – a fraction of the hundreds of high tolls per day experienced at the height of the last peak.

Public health officials and experts say California’s progress is proof of the power of COVID-19 vaccines, which are now available to everyone 16 years of age and older.

Roughly half of California’s people, and 63% of adults, have received at least one dose of the vaccine to date, according to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

However, only 32% of residents and 41% of adults are considered fully vaccinated — that is, they have received either a single Johnson & Johnson vaccine or both required doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

Officials also saw late the need for the shots.

In the week of April 17-23, 611,592 doses were administered in LA County – an average of roughly 87,000 per day. Between April 24 and 30, only 467,134 doses were dispensed, averaging 67,000 doses per day.

“At this point, the goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to come in and have fun getting the vaccine,” Ferrer said.