fbpx LA County health chief: COVID stats up, but enjoy Labor Day safely
The Votes Are In!
2023 Readers' Choice is back, bigger and better than ever!
View Winners →
Vote for your favorite business!
2024 Readers' Choice is back, bigger and better than ever!
Start voting →
Subscribeto our newsletter to stay informed
  • Enter your phone number to be notified if you win
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Home / News / Health / LA County health chief: COVID stats up, but enjoy Labor Day safely

LA County health chief: COVID stats up, but enjoy Labor Day safely

by City News Service
share with

Acknowledging slight increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Los Angeles County’s public health director says people should still be able to safely enjoy the upcoming Labor Day weekend as long as they follow common-sense safety precautions.

Barbara Ferrer made her comments during a media briefing Thursday afternoon — her first in several months — to give an update on COVID in LA County, raising speculation that rising cases might again be pushing the county to re-impose some stricter infection-control measures. But she quickly allayed those concerns.

“I want to note, there’s nothing that’s changed,” she said at the beginning of her remarks. “We’re not announcing new safety measures today or new opportunities for people to take certain actions. We’re just going to sort of run through where we are with the data.”

She did later suggest that with slight rises in transmission “this would be a good time to put your mask on — well-fitting, high-filtration mask — when you’re on public transit and when you’re in health care settings.”

Ferrer said the county this week has had a daily average of about 571 new COVID-19 cases, up from about 264 new daily cases four weeks ago.

“So cases really doubled over this past month,” she said. “And we still do report cases because they help us see these week-to-week trends, but I think it’s important to note that they’re an undercount, since they don’t include home tests. And the number of actual infections we know is much higher.”

The county also has a daily average of about 521 hospitalizations related to COVID-19, up from 245 on Aug. 2.

“However, as you can clearly see, hospitalizations remain well below the high number we saw during 2022 summer and winter surges,” Ferrer said. “In fact, there are only four other periods during the entire pandemic when hospitalizations are lower than what we’re reporting this week.”

She said about 5% of current emergency room visits in the county are related to COVID-19, up from about 3% a month ago.

“We haven’t seen a corresponding increase in deaths,” she said. “Currently we’re reporting an average of one death per day. … This could be because deaths … are a lagging indicator and the number could rise in coming weeks, or it could reflect the reduced risk of dying associated with higher rates of vaccinations and the use of powerful therapeutics.”

She noted that as of this week, about 2.5% of deaths in the county from all causes were associated with COVID. That’s about half the rate from this time last year, when 5% of all deaths were tied to COVID. But it’s up from the past two weeks, when only about 1% of overall deaths were attributable to COVID-19.

“It is possible that this could be an early indicator that maybe we’re going to see some increased numbers of deaths, yet with only one week of data it’s too early to determine if this is a trend,” she said. “As a reminder, during the peak of the surge last summer, it was 7% of the deaths were associated with COVID.”

She stressed that while the increases are slight, officials are keeping a close watch on the numbers. But she said residents should not be alarmed as they prepare for the holiday.

“With the upcoming Labor Day weekend, lots of people have been asking us for tips on how to safely enjoy the holiday and if the increased rates of transmission mean they need to change their plans or take different precautions,” Ferrer said. “We want everyone to enjoy this last weekend of the summer. And we think this can be easily done with some simple basic safety measures. For people who are not at increased risk of severe COVID outcomes, consider the following: masking is appropriate now based on individual preference, except for a few situations where masking may be required.

“Masking does remain strongly recommended in a few places and in a few situations,” said Ferrer — who wore a mask throughout the briefing at the DPH headquarters.

“You should consider … wearing a mask for 10 days after you had an exposure to someone who is positive for COVID-19 when you’re in these public indoor spaces. On days six to 10 after you’ve been infected, if you’re leaving isolation, it’s a good idea to keep your mask on for those days.”

She also urged people to take advantage of testing, and to test after a known exposure or after developing symptoms such as a fever, cough, headache or fatigue.

More from Health

Skip to content