• people shopping with masks

      People wearing masks at a local grocery store (Photo – ColoradoBlvd.net)

      The L.A. County Health Department is continuing to track the impact of the pandemic in LA County, using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Community Levels framework and the County’s Early Alert Signals.

      By News Desk

      Currently, the county remains at the CDC designated COVID-19 Medium Community Level. However, there are increasing concerns about the impact of new Omicron sub-variants on transmission and hospitalizations. This could result in the County moving into the High Community Level designation sometime later this summer.

      The County’s seven-day case rate is currently at 326 cases per week per 100,000 people, an increase from last week when the case rate was 307.  As a reminder, school outbreaks are not being tracked over the summer since schools are closed.

      The first of two hospital metrics in the CDC Community Levels Framework is the seven-day total of new hospital admissions per 100,000, which rose this past week to 8.1 admissions per 100,000 people. This is a 56% increase compared to one month ago. The second hospital metric, the seven-day average for the proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, also increased this past week to 4.2%.

      If the county moves into the CDC designated High Community Level and remains there for two consecutive weeks, the county would implement a universal indoor masking requirement for everyone age 2 and older This safety measure would remain in effect until the county returned to the CDC Medium Community Level designation, or lower, and stayed there for two consecutive weeks.

      dashboard of COVID cases in L.A. County

      Post Surge Dashboard (Photo – lacounty.gov)

      Early Alert Signals

      Because hospitalizations are a lagging indicator, it is important to track other areas of concern and/or risk.  Los Angeles County Health’s Early Alert Signals track both community and sector specific pandemic activity. At present, six of the seven areas that Public Health is tracking continue to convey cause for Medium or High Concern.

      Moreover, in the past week, four Early Alert Signals moved upward in the level of concern: The case rate in the lowest income areas and the number of new outbreaks at Skilled Nursing Facilities per week, both moved up to High Concern. The number of new outbreaks in settings for People Experiencing Homelessness is now at Medium Concern. And the number of worksite clusters increased, moving from Medium to High Concern for the first time since Public Health started tracking this metric in early March.  There was also an uptick in the percentage of Emergency Department Visits.

      When a sector-specific metric moves up in level of concern, additional safety measures are implemented, and remain in place until the level of concern has dropped for two weeks. For example, although there has been some fluctuation in the elevated level of concerns at nursing homes based on their outbreak numbers, and they move between Medium and High Concern for a couple of weeks now, the enhanced protection measures that were put in place under High Concern are still in place:

      • requiring staff to wear N95 respirators at all times in the facility,
      • conducting routine testing twice weekly for staff and weekly for residents, regardless of vaccination status,
      • and moving communal activities outdoors, where possible.

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