September 20, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

County Can ‘Think About’ Reopening Schools, Businesses if Transmission Rates Hold

Community spread still needs to decrease, officials say

By Sam Catanzaro

Los Angeles County’s head of public health noted at a press conference this week that if the current rate of COVID-19 transmission holds officials could “think about schools, more businesses reopening.”

“The work we have all done as a community and the sacrifices we are making are working. If we can maintain this lower rate of transmission, it means that we could begin to think about schools, more businesses reopening or, someday, moving their operations back indoors,” said Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) Director Barbara Ferrer speaking at a news conference Monday.

According to Public Health, daily hospitalizations numbers have decreased by 45 percent from a peak of over 2,200 in mid-July. There are 1,219 confirmed cases currently hospitalized and 32 percent of these people are in the ICU.

“The decreasing number of daily hospitalizations is one of the best indicators as it is an accurate representation of how many people are currently seriously ill from the virus,” the county said in a press release.

As of Monday, Public Health identified 232,893 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County, and a total of 5,558 deaths. In Santa Monica, there have been 744 cases and 39 deaths.

In mid-July, the 7-day average of people passing away from COVID-19 was an average of 44 deaths per day. On August 16, the average number of deaths was at an average of 28 deaths per day. In mid to late July, the daily reported number of new cases was around 3,200 cases per day. As of August 22, the 7-day average is 1,400 daily reported new cases.

Testing results are available for more than 2,195,000 individuals with 10 percent of all people testing positive. The Public Health says it is currently seeing a 7-day average positivity rate between 5 percent and 6 percent. Despite this rate of transmissions, however, officials say more community rates still must decrease before schools and businesses can fully reopen.

“Community transmission rates must continue to decrease if we are to get to this place – including where schools can reopen in a way that is safer for students, teachers and staff members,” Ferrer said.

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