LA County inches closer to meeting state indicators for reopening

Los Angeles County officials presented an optimistic look at the state indicators that have been keeping the county from fully opening, but still cautioned that residents can’t let their guard down.

The county now meets five of the six indicators to reopen, including its positivity rate, which is now at 6%. The state requires counties to have a positivity rate of 8% or less. The only thing holding the county back now is the case rate, which is nearly three times the required 100 cases per 100,000 population.

County health director Barbara Ferrer also noted that the three-day average hospitalizations are significantly down since mid-July, saying the falling hospitalizations are “one of our best indicators that our efforts over the last few weeks are working.”

But while Ferrer called the developments promising, she asked that no one misinterpret the data to mean people can start disregarding the rules.

“We’re just not getting back to normal now,” Ferrer said.

Counties need to meet all six indicators—which include stable hospitalizations, adequate testing each day and ICU bed capacity—for 14 days in order to get off the state’s monitoring list. Santa Cruz County was just taken off the list on Monday and Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he expects San Diego County will follow this week.

Long Beach, however, is only meeting four of the six indicators. The city’s positivity rate is at 9%, according to Mayor Robert Garcia. He noted that the rate has essentially stabilized in the past weeks and is far down from 15% a month ago.

The number of cases per 100,000 residents is also higher than the state requires, at 231 cases per 100,000 residents in Long Beach. Officials calculate that number over the last 14 days as one way to measure how prevalent the virus is in the city, city health officer Anissa Davis said.

It’s so far unclear what would happen if the county met the state’s criteria and Long Beach didn’t. For weeks now, officials have said the city’s fate is tied to the county’s in terms of getting off the state’s watch list and reopening.

Davis said that the city has been in communication with the county and state on the topic and it would likely be a joint decision with them.

Officials also announced 184 new cases in the city as well as one new death since last week. They also reported that 80 Long Beach residents are hospitalized.

Countywide, officials reported 19 new deaths and 1,185 new cases. A total of 1,341 people are hospitalized in the county with the virus.

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Valerie Osier is the Social Media & Newsletter Manager for the Long Beach Post. She started at the Post in 2018 as a breaking news reporter. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from the Cal State Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband and two cats.
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