COVID-19 Figures Raise Hopes

Los Angeles County is moving in the right direction when it comes to lowering COVID-19 transmission, a trend that bodes well for local economies that have been decimated by the pandemic.
“We have made a lot of progress reducing transmission in L.A. County since we experienced that surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths starting in mid-July,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said at a news conference on Wednesday. “As we consider our future reopenings, we’re going to use the lessons we learn from our past and community transmission indicators to guide decisions regarding reopening sectors and permitting additional services.”
The Department of Public Health reported on Wednesday that the seven-day average for new cases is seven per 100,000 residents and the positive-test rate is at 2.8%. The metric thresholds are good enough to move the county from Tier 1 (widespread risk of transmission) to Tier 2 (substantial risk) in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s most recent ranking system, should the numbers hold up.
“When we move forward on our recovery journey and additional sectors reopen, it will remain important to understand how increased intermingling among non-household members affects community transmission of the virus,” Ferrer said.
Current data shows a significant improvement compared to results in April and July, when some businesses were allowed to reopen before being forced to shutter again. The positivity rate hovered around 8% in July and has declined to about 3% in early September. Hospitalizations have also gone down as treatment for the virus has improved, according to Ferrer.
“Public Health is heartened that Los Angeles County has met the thresholds that may allow us in the near future to move into Tier 2 of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” Ferrer said in a statement on Tuesday. “We plan to closely monitor our data to understand how effectively we are slowing the spread of COVID-19 after the Labor Day holiday and the impact of reopening schools for high-need students and reopening hair salons for indoor operations.”
Whereas Tier 1 requires the closure of a large range of businesses, Tier 2 permits more kinds of reopenings, though still with restrictions — for instance, movie theaters might be able to operate with limited admissions and indoor dining at restaurants could be permitted.
La Cañada Flintridge Mayor Michael Davitt was also encouraged by the news and said he hopes to see businesses reopen and students return to campuses soon. The city has 183 confirmed cases and seven deaths, according to Public Health’s report released on Wednesday.
“Recent data has shown a consistent drop in COVID cases, as well as lowering hospitalization rates. These are very good signs for recovery,” Davitt said in an email. “This is especially good news for our businesses that have suffered so much, and it is also very important to get back to some type of in-classroom learning for our students. As difficult as the situation has been over the last many months, the belief is that, based upon the data, hopefully reopening can occur in a safe and prudent manner.”
The United States surpassed 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus on Tuesday, accounting for nearly 21% of COVID-19 deaths confirmed in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. The Centers for Disease Control reported the country’s first coronavirus case on Jan. 21.

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