Los Angeles County’s health officer painted a positive picture today of downward trends in coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations, but he also offered a reminder that past complacency and deviations from health orders led to upward spikes that could be repeated.
“The work we have all done as a community and the sacrifices we are making are working,” Dr. Muntu Davis said. “We’re preventing COVID-19 infections, including serious illness and deaths. Second, if we can maintain this lower transmission, it means that we could begin to think about schools and more businesses reopening or someday moving their operations back indoors.
“But what I’d like to stress is the importance of all of us learning from our recent past and the spikes in cases, hospitalizations as well as deaths in our community that we experienced in July,” he said. “As we continue our journey of recovery, we must all proceed with caution. All of us must own our roles in this recovery.”
Davis announced 13 new deaths from the coronavirus, while Long Beach health officials reported two more, raising the countywide total since the start of the pandemic to 5,560. Davis also confirmed 1,198 new cases, while Long Beach reported 36 and Pasadena health officials announced eight lifting the cumulative number to 232,937. The number of people hospitalized in the county stood at 1,219 as of Monday, continuing a plunge from late-July averages of over 2,000.
Davis walked through charts showing the trajectory of key virus- tracking numbers — daily numbers of new cases, positivity rates, hospitalization numbers and deaths. In each case, the numbers climbed dramatically in mid-July on the heels of widespread business re-openings and the Fourth of July weekend. The number have since trended downward, following more tight restrictions such as forcing many businesses to operate outdoors only.
In the past week, health officials have noted that the county now meets five of the state’s six virus-monitoring criteria, falling short only on the rate of new cases per 100,000 residents. Until that rate of spread slows, the county will remain on the state’s list and will be unable to lessen restrictions or reopen school campuses.
L.A. County was one of 35 counties on the watchlist as of Monday. Orange County was removed from the list over the weekend.
“Together we must all take our roles seriously and be diligent,” Davis said. “It is everyone’s goal to get to a place where we have a safer reopening. But community transmission rates must continue to decrease if we are to get to this place, including where schools can reopen in a way that is safer for students, teachers and staff members.
“Cautious reopening doesn’t mean that everything will go back to normal and that it will return to the way it was before COVID-19,” he said. “Cautious reopening means we take to heart the lessons we learned from July and move forward in a new normal of making the infection-control practices part of our day-to-day lives for the foreseeable future.”
The number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in West Hollywood today remains at 482, with no increase from Sunday’s count. The Health Department’s COVID-19 database today reports that the number of WeHo residents who have died of COVID-19 related illnesses is five.
In Beverly Hills, the number of confirmed infections has increased by one to 594. The number of COVID-19 related deaths in Beverly Hills remains at 11. The number of COVID-19 infection confirmed among Culver City residents has increased by one to 364. The number of deaths remains at 29. Hollywood has two newly confirmed infections, bringing its total to date is 1,025. The number of deaths remains at 11. The Melrose neighborhood has 12 new confirmed infections, bringing its total to date to 1,679. The number of COVID-19 related deaths has increased by four to 63.
Public Health has a dedicated call line for confirmed cases of COVID-19. If you are positive for COVID-19 and have not yet connected with a public health specialist or need more information on services, call toll-free at 1 (833) 540-0473. Residents who do not have COVID-19 can continue to call 211 for resources or more information.
One way the virus can be transmitted is through a cough, a sneeze or even through air that comes from the mouth when someone talks. For that reason, residents must wear face coverings when out in public and can be cited for not doing so. The citations come with a $250 fine and a $50 administrative fee.
West Hollywood residents with questions about the COVID-19 pandemic or who are looking for resources to deal with it can find answers on the City of West Hollywood’swebsite. Here is a list of links to sections about particular subjects and issues: