The number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations in Los Angeles County reached its lowest daily average since April, when the region was just weeks into a shutdown, health officials said Saturday.
This week, the average number of daily hospitalizations was 717 per day, following a couple weeks of COVID-19 hospitalizations remaining “fairly steady,” the Department of Public Health said in a news release Saturday. The figure is the lowest the county has seen in six months, a positive sign as Los Angeles remains in the state’s most restrictive purple tier of the state’s color-coded reopening plan.
During that stage, the virus is considered “widespread” in the local population and indoor operations inside non-essential businesses such as restaurants cannot resume.
However, the county has moved on with reopening other parts of the economy, allowing nail salons to reopen with up to 25% capacity indoors Friday. Next week, some other businesses can reopen partially — from cardrooms being allowed to host outdoor gaming to indoor malls reopening at 25% capacity.
Schools can begin applying for waivers next week to resume in-person classes for children in grades K-2. A full list of changes to L.A. County closures in the coming days can be found here.
On Saturday, health officials reported another 17 lives lost to COVID-19 and 1,062 more new cases of the virus, bringing the county’s total case count to 273,638 with 6,642 deaths.
This week’s average of 717 hospitalizations per day marks a significant decline from the county’s peak of an average of about 2,200 hospitalizations per day in mid-July. Since that time, the county has reinstated some restrictions before rolling back some more recently. And the state has released new health guidelines and standards for the reopening of each county.
While L.A. County continues to make progress in the fight against the virus, health officials have told residents to remain vigilant and keep following health guidelines.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Saturday delivered her usual reminders to keep at least six feet apart from individuals from other households and always wear facial coverings.
But this time, she referenced the outbreak linked to the White House which has sickened the president, some of his aides, his campaign manager and lawmakers who attended the Rose Garden ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett last week.
“Our recovery journey depends on the decisions we each make every day about how to avoid transmitting the virus,” Ferrer said in a statement from the Department of Public Health.
“We are witnessing firsthand in Washington D.C. how very easy it is for this virus to infect dozens of people in a very short time when individuals are not wearing face coverings, distancing and/or quarantining,” Ferrer said, telling residents to “take all precautions” and “avoid crowds.”
Several photographs and video of the ceremony for the SCOTUS nomination show politicians, government officials and other attendees mingling and greeting one another — sometimes while less than a few feet away, shaking hands and hugging while not wearing masks.