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Outdoor Dining Service Returns with New Mandatory Safety Measures

-Editorial

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) confirmed 228 new deaths and 7,112 new cases of COVID-19. To date, Public Health identified 1,104,393 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 16,322 deaths. 

Of the 228 new deaths reported today, 53 people who passed away were over the age of 80, 80 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, 52 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, 21 people died were between the ages of 30 and 49, and two people who died were between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. Fifteen deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach and five deaths were reported by the City of Pasadena.

There are 5,855 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 26% of these people are in the ICU.  Testing results are available for more than 5,463,000 individuals with 19% of people testing positive.

As daily reported cases have declined from peaks experienced a few weeks ago, COVID-19 transmission remains high and widespread throughout the County.

Public Health has modified the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order to closely align with the sector re-openings permitted in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy most restrictive purple tier. 

Outdoor dining at restaurants, wineries, and breweries may reopen today with additional safety measures in place to mitigate the increased risk since customers are permitted to spend time unmasked at these businesses. Indoor dining is not permitted. All employees that can come in contact with customers must wear both a face covering and a face shield at all times.  Persons from different households are not allowed to share a table. All establishments must post signage to this effect and verbally inform customers that everyone sharing a table must be from the same household. Tables must be positioned at least 8 feet apart and televisions or other screens must be turned off. 

The Health Officer Order also removes operating hour restrictions for non-essential businesses.

Businesses are required to implement the protocols before reopening to ensure they comply with the Health Officer Order, and to avoid citations, fines, and possible closure.  Violations can be reported anonymously at 888-700-9995 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., excluding holidays. To report violations online, visit www.publichealth.lacounty.gov

“To the families mourning a loved one lost to COVID-19, we send our deepest sympathies,” said Barbara Ferrer, Ph.D., MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “We need everyone, both businesses, and individuals, playing by the rules to reduce transmission of COVID-19.  We all know if the precautions and safety measures are not followed, it is likely the County will again experience increases in cases, hospitalizations, and eventually deaths. 

The way to avoid this is for everyone to follow all of the public health directives all of the time. Transmission and risk are still very high and we are concerned about variants of the virus and what these may mean in our region. We don’t want to get to a place where have to close again, because that will mean more people are sick and more people will pass away. As vaccination of our healthcare workers and residents continues, we must continue the core public health actions that reduce transmission, save lives and get us back to re-opening up our schools for our children.”

Currently, more than 790,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the county. People eligible for vaccine include frontline healthcare workers, residents and staff at long-term care facilities, and County residents age 65 and older.  Together, these groups total more than 2 million people eligible for the vaccine who each need 2 doses.  We are currently receiving, on average, 150,000 vaccine doses per week, so we ask the public to be patient as we do our best to meet the needs with limited supply. Public Health has built an extensive network with pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, hospitals, health clinics, and community vaccination sites, including six large capacity sites, some managed by the City of LA and some by the County, to be sure that as more vaccine is available, more people can be vaccinated.

The State announced that it is transitioning to a more centralized distribution system. This State-run system will be administered by Blue Shield of California and allows for direct distribution to a statewide network of vaccine providers, including the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. We look forward to working with the State to ensure that we have an optimal network of other providers across the county and to ensure efficient and equitable distribution of the vaccines.

Public Health’s VaccinateLACounty.com connects residents eligible for vaccinations to appointment registration links. The site has incorporated the State’s new appointment registration platform, MyTurn, which now allows residents to book their first and second dose appointments at the same time. Residents with Internet access and a computer are urged to use www.VaccinateLACounty.com to sign up as appointments become available.  For those without access to a computer or the internet or with disabilities, a call center is open to help schedule appointments at 833-540-0473, daily from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Individuals are encouraged to use the website whenever possible to sign up for an appointment to avoid long wait times on the phone.

Severe weather can cause the large capacity vaccination sites in the county to temporarily close due to safety concerns.  If sites are closed because of severe weather, people with appointments will be sent a text and/or an email if their site is closed.  The email or text will tell them they can report to the same location at the same time just on different days.

The Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional things you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your community are on the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.

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