One week ago, declining coronavirus numbers prompted Los Angeles County to drop its requirement for masking on public transit and inside airports and other transportation hubs. Still, the region continues to see its share of sickness and more severe repercussions. Crosstown keeps track of it all with the weekly 5 things to know about COVID-19 report. Here is the latest.
1) Infection detection
The number of new COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County has declined again, and for the first time in months the weekly total is below 10,000. From Sept. 21–27, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 12.9% fewer cases than the week prior.
The current seven-day average is 1,320 cases, the lowest level since mid-April. One month ago the county was seeing an average of 2,904 cases per day.
2) Pushing shots
Remember the spring of 2021, when COVID vaccines became widely available and it seemed that everyone was eager to get injected? That March, more than 1.7 million shots went into arms, according to County Department of Public Health data. The next month more than 1.64 million jabs were administered.
Figures have never been nearly as high. This August, there were 32,677 vaccinations in the county. That is down from the 46,866 Angelenos who got shots in July.
The question now is whether or not the updated “bivalent” boosters that protect against the Omicron strains will prompt more people to get vaccinated. It is too early to tell the impact of the recently rolled-out shots. Figures for September are still being tabulated.
3) Decreasing deaths
Need a reminder of how severe COVID-19 can be? Check out the Department of Public Health’s daily update, where the number of new deaths are reported. Figures are nowhere close to historic highs, but each week dozens of Angelenos still die from the coronavirus.
From Sept. 21–27, there were 82 fatalities in the county. That is a drop of 19 from the previous week.
The seven-day average of deaths has declined to 12. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 33,500 county residents have passed away from COVID-19
4) COVID and the unhoused
The pandemic’s impact on people experiencing homelessness does not generate much attention these days, but the threat persists. In its most recent update, the Department of Public Health reported 101 new cases among the unhoused. Since March 2020, there have been 21,579 COVID-19 cases and 360 deaths among people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County.
Health authorities estimate that 60% of those in this sector who tested positive for COVID-19 were sheltered at the time of their diagnosis.
5) More on masks
It is not just transit where masking rules and recommendations have changed. On Sept. 21, the Department of Public Health announced that, in accordance with a state order, masks are now optional in correctional facilities and shelters when the county’s infection rate hits the Low Community Level (as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). This is on the condition that a facility has not experienced any recent outbreaks.
Universal masking is still required at healthcare and long-term care facilities, according to the state of California.
How we did it: We analyzed coronavirus data related to new cases, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.