Los Angeles County Department of Public Health | Los Angeles County COVID-19 Update: 880 New Cases, 13 Deaths 3/8/2021
County officials provide updates and answer questions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic for March 8th, 2021.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 13 new deaths and 880 new cases of COVID-19. To date, Public Health identified 1,204,018 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 22,041 deaths. Today’s death and case numbers represent an undercount associated with lag in weekend reporting.
The County has returned to daily case numbers that are at pre-surge levels. The seven-day average number of daily cases by episode date has continued to decrease, and as of February 28 is 700.
There are 1,132 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 31% of these people are in the ICU. Testing results are available for more than 5,900,000 individuals with 19% of people testing positive. Today’s daily test positivity rate is 2.0%.
Of the 13 new deaths reported today, one person that passed away was over the age of 80, four people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, five people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, and three people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49.
Last Friday, the state announced updates to their Blueprint for a Safer Economy. In addition to assessing county case rates, positivity rates and positivity rates in neighborhoods with the lowest scores in the Healthy Places Index, the state is now taking into consideration the number of vaccinations that have been administered in the lowest resourced neighborhoods statewide. Unlike the other three metrics, vaccination numbers will be calculated statewide and used to change the case rate thresholds for counties to move from one tier to another.
Once 2 million vaccine doses have been administered in the state to the communities with the lowest score in the Healthy Places Index, the threshold to move from the purple tier to the red tier will go from 7 new cases per 100,000 people to 10 new cases per 100,000 people. To move to the orange tier, the threshold will remain at 4 cases per 100,000 people, and to move to the yellow tier, the threshold will remain at 1.
Once 4 million vaccine doses have been administered in the state to the communities with the lowest score in the Healthy Places Index, the threshold to move from the purple tier to the red tier will remain at 10 per 100,000 people, but the threshold will change for moving to the orange tier, from 4 new cases per 100,0000 residents to 6 cases per 100,000 people, and to move to the yellow tier, the threshold will change from 1 new case per 100,000 residents to 2 cases per 100,000 people.
The state anticipates administering 2 million doses to residents in hard hit communities by the end of the week. Last week, the case rate in L.A. County was below 10 new cases per 100,000 residents. If this week’s adjusted case rate remains below 10 new cases per 100,000 people, our understanding is that within 48 hours of the state announcing the vaccine trigger has been met, Los Angeles County, along with other counties with qualifying case rates, would move into the red tier. We will be working with the Board of Supervisors and our sector partners to prepare appropriate modifications to the Health Officer Order reflecting the County’s move to the red tier.
The State also announced plans to permit the reopening of outdoor sporting events, live outdoor concerts and theme parks, starting on April 1. Starting April 1, outdoor sporting events and outdoor live concerts will be permitted with significant capacity and infection control modifications. For counties in the purple tier, capacity at these outdoor events will be limited to 100 people or less, reservations will be required, and concessions will not be allowed. Only people who live in the region where the event is taking place will be permitted to attend. Once in the red tier, these outdoor events can open at 20% capacity, limited to in-state visitors only; concessions will be allowed only while seated. As counties move into less restrictive tiers, the allowed capacity will increase.
Public Health is also preparing for schools to be permitted, in the red tier, to open for on-site learning for grades 7 through 12. As schools prepare for these students, they must have an updated State COVID-19 Safety Plan (CSP), including the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Program and the CDPH COVID-19 School Guidance Checklist posted to the school or district website no less than 5 days before their planned opening date. Schools will also have to file an updated L.A. County Reopening Survey and an updated L.A. County Reopening Protocol for K through 12 Schools at least 5 days before the proposed reopening date for grades 7 through 12. More information will be available online.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance for fully vaccinated people. The guidance states that fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people in small groups without wearing masks or practicing physical distancing. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks or more after they received the second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks or more after they received the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Fully vaccinated people can also visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease, indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing. For example, fully vaccinated grandparents can visit with their unvaccinated grandchildren, as long as their grandchildren do not have serious health conditions.
Fully vaccinated people should continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distance in public. They should mask, physically distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting unvaccinated people at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease, or who have an unvaccinated household member at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease, and when around unvaccinated people from multiple households. Fully vaccinated people should also avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings. There is a growing body of evidence that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection and potentially less likely to transmit COVID-19 to others. However, given the need for additional research, preventive measures continue to be important during vaccine implementation.
L.A. County and the state are reviewing this guidance and will be updating our guidance shortly.
“Our thoughts are with every person who has lost a loved one from COVID-19 this past year. We all mourn each unique, special person that has passed away and we send our deepest sympathies to their friends and families,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “We are at a point in the pandemic where we have a great deal of optimism. We are making progress on vaccinating our residents, cases, hospitalizations and deaths are decreasing, and we are likely moving into a less restrictive tier. In order for us to maintain progress, we will need to continue making slowing transmission a central part of our day-to-day lives. That means choosing not to travel and choosing not to gather with large numbers of people we do not live with. It also means wearing a mask and keeping distance whenever we are outside of our home and around others. Let’s please keep this positive momentum going so all of our children can return to school as safely as possible and we can continue to prevent illness and save lives.”
To date, more than 2,415,000 doses of vaccine have been administered across the county. Of those vaccinated, 814,593 people have received second doses. Currently, people eligible for the vaccine include healthcare workers, residents and staff at long-term care facilities, people 65 or older, education and childcare workers, food and agriculture workers, and emergency service workers and law enforcement.
As of last week, 58% of L.A. County residents 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 30% received both doses. For our 65 and older residents, one of our big concerns is reaching homebound people and making sure they have access to the vaccine. Right now, we are working with City Fire Departments and Health Plans to identify these people so that they can be vaccinated.
There are over 375 vaccination sites receiving a portion of the 312,690 total doses allocated to the County of L.A. for this week. This allocation includes 54,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The County’s network of vaccination sites has the capacity for 626,000 appointment slots this week, even with the increased doses, we only have enough doses for about 312,000 appointments. Our large capacity vaccination sites alone could be providing 195,000 additional doses this week if there was sufficient supply.
At the hundreds of vaccination sites across the county, including pharmacies and many community clinics, appointments are open to any L.A. County resident or workers meeting the eligibility requirements. For information about vaccine appointments in L.A. County and when your turn is coming up, to sign up for a vaccination newsletter, and much more, visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish). Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status.
County Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional actions you can take to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.(c) 2021 SCVTV