L.A. County’s Low Number of New COVID Infections May Be a Result of a Lag in Report

Los Angeles County has reported 971 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths, bringing the county’s totals to 282,135 cases and 6,771 fatalities.

The number of new cases snapped a four-day streak in which the county had reported more than 1,200 new coronavirus cases, potentially jeopardizing efforts to reopen more sectors of the local economy. However, the reason for the low numbers on Sunday is unclear, since figures are typically lower on weekends due to reporting lags.

Hospitalizations due to the virus increased from 701 Saturday to 715 Sunday, with 26% of those people in intensive care, according to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health.

A crowd on the sidewalk in front of Fiesta Cantina, 8865 Santa Monica Blvd., on Sunday. Many weren’t wearing face coverings.

Los Angeles County is still in the strictest level of the state’s four- tier economic-reopening roadmap. The county’s recent testing positivity rate is low enough to qualify the county to move up to a less-restrictive tier, but the average daily number of new cases needs to drop to about 700 per day before any movement will occur.

As of Wednesday, the county’s rate of new cases per 100,000 residents was averaging 7.4, slightly above the limit of 7 needed to move out of the state’s restrictive “purple” tier.

Health officials said they would closely monitor the case numbers this week, and the elevated numbers of last week should be a reminder that COVID- 19 is still spreading in the community. Several West Hollywood residents have reached out to WEHOville to express concerns about gatherings of people who aren’t wearing face coverings on the sidewalks or in outdoor dining areas. One such gathering occurred Sunday in front of Fiesta Cantina on Santa Monica Boulevard.

On Tuesday, the county authorized breweries and wineries that don’t have their own kitchens to reopen for outdoor service, provided they partner with a third-party food provider. All alcohol sales for on-site consumption at breweries and wineries must be accompanied by a “bona fide meal” purchase.

On Saturday, county health officials reminded residents of the importance of restaurants, breweries and wineries showing televised sporting events to adhere to protocols and directives to help prevent spread of the virus — an especially timely reminder given that the Lakers play Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night, and the Dodgers are beginning the National League Championship Series on Monday.

Public Health protocols for those establishments include:

  • Not allowing customers to congregate in any areas or around any televisions;
  • Limiting to outdoor seating and no more than six people at a table;
  • Requiring cloth face coverings whenever customers are not eating and/or drinking, including upon arrival, when walking in and exiting the facility, and when using restrooms;
  • Ensuring six feet of physical distance between tables;
  • Ensuring employees interacting with customers are wearing a cloth face covering and a face shield.

After months of closure, indoor shopping malls were permitted to reopen Wednesday, though limited at 25% of capacity and with food courts and common areas remaining closed. That follows nail salons, which were permitted to reopen indoors last week; card rooms, which were allowed to open outdoors on Monday; and outdoor playgrounds, which were cleared to reopen at the discretion of individual cities.

On Sunday, the number of confirmed infections in West Hollywood increased by one to 604. The number of people in West Hollywood who have died of COVID-19 related illnesses is still listed as five.

In Beverly Hills, the number of confirmed infections as of Sunday remained at 715. The number of COVID-19 related deaths in Beverly Hills to date 12. The number of COVID-19 infection confirmed among Culver City residents increased by one to 402. The number of deaths to date is 28. The number of infections in Hollywood has increased by six to 1,289. The number of deaths remains at 14. The Melrose neighborhood’s number of infections has increased by ten to 2,022. The number of COVID-19 related deaths remains at 74.

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:

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