12 New Deaths and 1,829 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County
Vaccination Verification Requirements in Effect Today; Public Health Encourages Children Vaccinations Against COVID-19
LOS ANGELES, Calif. Nov 4 – Beginning today, proof of full vaccination and photo ID for indoor entry into bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries, nightclubs, and lounges for all patrons and employees goes into effect. Patrons now need to be fully vaccinated to be indoors at any of these establishments.
Next week, on November 8, the City of Los Angeles’ vaccine verification program, called SafePassLA, goes into effect, and will require proof of full vaccination for entry into the indoor portions of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, breweries, wineries, gyms, spas, nail salons, barbershops, movie theaters, shopping malls, and entertainment and recreation venues. This includes indoor portions of City facilities such as LA City Hall, senior centers, recreation centers, and service centers.
Public Health will be working closely with the City of LA to educate businesses and residents on the requirements of the SafePassLA program throughout the upcoming month and will unveil a virtual training and certificate program for LA City businesses next week.
The Biden administration has announced a January 4 deadline for the full vaccination of workers, including non-clinical employees and contractors, at healthcare facilities funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. These facilities may grant certain medical or religious exemptions to employees, but employees will not be able to choose a testing option as an alternative to being vaccinated. Yesterday, the administration set the same deadline for full vaccination of workers at businesses with more than 100 employees. Businesses may offer their employees an option involving routine testing and mandatory masking.
These targeted mandates are all aimed at ensuring that in health facilities, workspaces, and public spaces, where the risk of transmission is higher, everyone is fully vaccinated. With powerful and safe vaccines, this is the surest manner of quickly reducing spread and allowing for continued economic recovery.
Many parents were relieved when earlier this week, the CDC endorsed the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children aged 5 to 11 years old. There are many good reasons to vaccinate children in this age group: in addition to the fact that COVID-19 infection can lead to hospitalization, death, inflammatory syndromes, and long-term symptoms in pediatric populations, children can transmit the virus at least as efficiently as adults. In L.A. County, an estimated 900,000 children between the ages of 5 and 11 are eligible for vaccinations. Vaccination has been shown to be 91% effective in preventing infection in this age group with only mild side effects.
Children getting vaccinated need to bring with them a consent form signed by an adult responsible for the child – and that consent form can be signed by the adult at the vaccination site. At some vaccination sites, including those run by Public Health, children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. You do not need to show identification in order to get a vaccine, nor do you need to be a United States citizen to be vaccinated.
For this week, we encourage parents to call ahead of time to providers to be sure they received pediatric doses and are able to offer vaccines to children 5-11. All six of the Public Health community sites have already begun vaccinating children and parents can bring their children in without appointments.
Last week, there were 670 student cases and more than 3,100 student close contacts at schools. Among staff, we saw about 110 cases and 250 close contacts. These case numbers represent a 26% decline in student cases and a 29% decline in staff cases from the prior week. The increase in staff close contacts is in part due to several outbreaks in which the exposure location was the staff break room. This amounts to a test positivity of 0.2% among students and staff being tested, with 0.2% identified as close contacts.
These low numbers are a result of the work our school communities have done to layer on protections that keep students and staff safe, and we are grateful for their collaboration on this effort. The County hopes to see these numbers drop further as more and more children get vaccinated to protect themselves and their friends and families from COVID-19 infection.
Today, Public Health confirms 12 new deaths and 1,829 new cases of COVID-19. The higher number of cases today reflects delays in reporting of 396 positive tests from a large testing lab from between October 18 and October 29. The County is likely to see higher numbers in future days as additional backlogged tests are included in case counts. Of the 12 new deaths reported today, four people who passed away were over the age of 80, four people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, two people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, and two people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49. To date, Public Health has identified 1,498,393 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 26,695 deaths.
There are 662 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 23% of these people are in the ICU. Testing results are available for nearly 9,110,000 individuals with 15% of people testing positive. Today’s test positivity rate is 1.6%, an increase from last week’s same-day rate of 1.2%.
The County’s daily average case rate, with a 3-day lag, is now 9.8 cases per 100,000 people, an increase from last week’s 3-day-lagged case rate of 6.1 cases per 100,000. CDC’s estimation of the County’s weekly case rate is now 84 new cases per 100,000 residents, reflecting continued substantial transmission across the county.
Unvaccinated people are 7 times more likely to get infected and 27 times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated people.
“Our hearts are broken for everyone who has lost loved ones, friends or co-workers to this virus, and we share with you our hope for your healing and comfort,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Cooler weather has arrived, and with it, conditions that favor COVID-19 transmission as we gather inside to stay warm and for celebrations and gatherings. While vaccinations remain our most powerful tool for reducing spread of the virus, masking up indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces is still an important layer of protection for all of us. We ask that everyone continue to do their part to adhere to the masking requirements, which are likely to remain in place for the remainder of this calendar year as we work hard to reduce community transmission rates to the moderate tier, less than 50 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents; to achieve this benchmark, daily new case numbers would need to fall to about 700 cases per day.”
An important strategy for preventing a significant surge this winter is planning for safe holiday gatherings. For this Thanksgiving, which is in three weeks, it’s best if everyone who is eligible gets vaccinated. If this isn’t possible, Public Health recommends staying local until everyone in your house is fully vaccinated, and if possible, have gatherings outdoors. Keep gatherings small, and if unvaccinated or high-risk people are present, including older adults and people with weakened immune systems, wear face masks indoors when not eating or drinking, and outdoors if it’s crowded. In these situations, it’s also a good idea to keep a distance between non-household members while eating, especially if you’re eating indoors. And if possible, have guests verify a negative test before gathering.
Anyone five years and older living or working in L.A. County can get vaccinated. Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status. Appointments are not needed at all Public Health vaccination sites where first, second, and third doses are available.
Vaccine providers across Los Angeles County are also administering boosters for all three FDA-approved vaccines; Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. People eligible for boosters include adults of any age who received their first Johnson & Johnson dose at least two months ago, and people who got the second dose of their Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at least six months ago and are 65-plus years old or are over 18 and live in long-term care settings, have underlying medical conditions, or work or live in high-risk settings.