With COVID-19 transmission slowing, Los Angeles County is closer to emerging from the most restrictive tier of the state’s business-reopening guidelines, meaning indoor dining and movie theaters could potentially be cleared to reopen by late March.
Figures released by the state Tuesday put the county’s adjusted average daily rate of new COVID-19 infections at 7.2 per 100,000 residents. If that number falls to 7 per 100,000 residents and stays at that level for two weeks, the county will be able to move out of the restrictive “purple” tier of the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” and into the “red” tier.
Moving to the “red” tier would authorize the county to loosen restrictions on businesses — increasing capacity at indoor retailers to 50%, re-starting indoor restaurant dining at 25% of capacity, and reopening movie theaters, also at 25% capacity. Museums and aquariums could be permitted to operate at 25% capacity, and fitness centers could resume indoor activities at 10% of capacity.
The state updates tier assignments for all 58 counties every Tuesday. To advance to a less-restrictive tier of the state’s blueprint, a county must meet all three metrics required by the state for at least two weeks.
To advance to the “red” tier, the county needs a new daily case rate of between 4 and 7 per 100,000 residents, along with an average testing positivity rate of 5% to 8% and a “health equity quartile” — a measurement of a county’s efforts to control the virus in disproportionately impacted communities — of 5.3% to 8%.
Los Angeles County’s testing positivity rate is 3.5% and the equity quartile is 5.1%, both good enough to actually qualify the county for the even less-restrictive “orange” tier of the four-level state blueprint. To advance to that tier, the county’s new case rate would have to drop to between 1 and 3.9 per 100,000 residents.
The county has been on the verge of exiting the “purple” tier before, meeting all the required metrics last fall. But the county was unable to maintain the metrics for the required two-week period, as case rates began to rise and eventually devolved to the winter surge.
Even if the county does move up to the “red” tier, it would still be up to county health officials to decide whether to actually loosen the business restrictions. Counties are permitted to impose more stringent restrictions than the state.
There are 1,502 people currently in the hospital in Los Angeles County according to county health officials. That’s 76 fewer people in the hospital than on Monday when there were 1,578 people hospitalized.
The county’s all-time high for COVID hospitalizations occurred on Jan. 7, when there were 8,098 people hospitalized.
There 460 people currently in the ICU, according to the state. The county’s total ICU capacity is about 2,500 beds.
County health officials announced 91 more COVID-related deaths on Tuesday. The cumulative death toll in LA County is 21,554 people.
The highest number of COVID deaths in a single day occurred on Jan. 8 with 318 deaths. The second highest occurred on Jan. 30 with 316 deaths.
LA County reported 1,407 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. The county now has a cumulative total of 1,194,242 cases since the pandemic began in March.
To date, almost 5.84 million people have been tested for the coronavirus since the pandemic began. The daily positivity rate on Monday was 2.6%.
West Hollywood recorded 7 new cases; the cumulative total is 2,127 cases since the pandemic began. The city had no new deaths; the cumulative death total is 33 deaths.
Below are the numbers for areas near West Hollywood:
- Beverly Hills – 11 new cases for a total of 2,475 cases and 32 deaths.
- Carthay neighborhood – 3 new cases for a total of 857 cases and 58 deaths.
- Century City – no new case for a total of 567 cases and 11 deaths.
- Culver City – 3 new cases for a total of 2,088 cases and 90 deaths.
- Hollywood – 7 new cases for a total of 5,184 cases and 63 deaths.
- Melrose neighborhood – 2 new cases total of 7,809 cases and 194 deaths.
- Miracle Mile – no new cases for a total of 896 cases and 15 deaths.
- Park La Brea – 1 new case for a total of 563 cases and 1 death.
- Santa Monica – 10 new cases for a total of 4,342 cases and 150 deaths.
The Carthay neighborhood incorporates the areas of Los Angeles between the Beverly Hills city limits and Fairfax Avenue, with Beverly Boulevard as the northern border and Wilshire Boulevard as the southern border.
The Melrose neighborhood incorporates the areas of Los Angeles east of La Cienega and west of Vermont Avenue, between Santa Monica Boulevard on the north and Beverly Boulevard on the south.
For information about the many resources available to West Hollywood residents who have been impacted by COVID-19, CLICK HERE.
City News Service contributed information for this story.