L.A. City and County COVID-19 Weekly Update (August 24, 2020)

CA Health and Government COVID-19 Guidance: Week in Review

Cautious Optimism, Despite Data Errors

L.A. County officials again remained cautiously optimistic throughout last week. There are several reasons for optimism:

  • Hospitalizations continue to trend down, having fallen 37% in the past month.
  • New case rates are trending down, even accounting for data reporting issues.
  • The County’s test positivity rate is down from its mid-July peak.
  • Daily deaths are down. 

At a briefing on Monday, August 17, 2020, L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer noted that the County satisfied five of the six required criteria to move off of the state’s monitoring list. The only indicator that remained elevated last week was new cases per 100,000 residents. As of Saturday, August 22, the County was at 218 per 100,000. The state’s threshold for removal from the monitoring list is no more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents. However, counties with 200 cases per 100,000 residents may consider waiver applications in order for schools to resume in-person instruction. Dr. Ferrer has said that she is focused on this higher threshold at the moment.

On the other relevant indicators, L.A. County has sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and hospital capacity, continues to test more than the required 150 people per 100,000, and has a test positivity rate below 6%, which is below the state threshold of 8%. The County’s transmission rate remains below 1.0, and County Health Director Christina Ghaly stated at a press conference on Wednesday, August 19, 2020, that the County’s rate was projected at 0.92.

Based on these metrics, it is possible that L.A. County could come off the state’s monitoring list in the upcoming weeks. However, the County will need to remain off the list for 14 consecutive days before it can consider reopening additional sectors.

Education

On Sunday, August 16, 2020, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced a massive COVID-19 testing and tracing initiative for all students and staff.

On Monday, August 17, 2020, LAUSD began the school year with remote learning for all students in the District. As of now, the County is not considering waivers for public school districts or private schools to reopen for in-person instruction.

 

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