Los Angeles County did not report any additional Covid-19 deaths on Sunday and Monday, although officials stressed that those low figures likely reflected reporting delays over the weekend.
However, given that the number of daily deaths is over 200 in January and that the region has lost nearly 30,000 people to Kovid over the past year, even if the count is an anomaly, this is welcome news. According to the county, the last time no daily deaths were reported from a pandemic in Los Angeles was on March 18, 2020. This is also the last time there have been two consecutive days with zero Covid-related deaths in the region. There were only 15 such deaths across the country on Monday.
More good news: As of Saturday, the county̵
Universal Studios Hollywood is now open to visitors outside the state; Disneyland is still limited to Californians – updated
“This is indeed a weekend delay,” Barbara Ferrer, director of public health, told the figures on Monday, “and we hope the death toll remains low.”
According to government figures, the number of coronavirus patients at Los Angeles County Hospitals dropped from 410 on Saturday to 390, with 87 people in intensive care from 86 the day before.
California Gov. Gavin Newsum said Monday that the number of Covid-related hospitalizations was the lowest since the pandemic began. California coronavirus patients fell from nearly a January high of nearly 23,000 to 1,626 on Monday.
Sunday’s figures led to a total of 1,233,772 cases and 23,915 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Public health indicators continue to reflect reduced transmission of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County. See https://t.co/Z4mU8pSN4u for more. pic.twitter.com/xIjRsM2IT4
– LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) May 2, 2021
The county further eased its health restrictions on Covid-19 by allowing indoor playgrounds and arcades to reopen with limited capacity, while removing restrictions on the opening hours of bars, breweries and wineries.
Indoor arcades and playgrounds – such as laser markers, balls or “jumping” centers – are limited to 25% of capacity, along with other mandatory safety modifications.
Bars, which are currently only allowed to work outdoors, have been limited to 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., but these restrictions have already been lifted.
On Monday, playgrounds at all primary schools and early childhood education centers in Los Angeles will reopen. Area staff will use electrostatic mysteries and an approved disinfectant to regularly renovate playground equipment, the same procedure used to clean frequently touched surfaces at school, according to principal Austin Butner.
The easing of restrictions comes amid continuing concerns about the slowing pace of vaccinations in the county.
County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer reiterated the urgency of inoculating people, while continuing to adhere to other health guidelines to prevent the virus from reviving locally.
“Vaccination in Los Angeles County is easier and more affordable than ever, and we encourage everyone waiting to be vaccinated to take the opportunity as soon as possible,” Ferrer said. “There is still a much higher risk of transmitting COVID-19 to unvaccinated people. As more Los Angeles County residents and workers are vaccinated, the risk of transmitting variants is greatly reduced, and we return to the many activities we loved to do before the pandemic. “
The county is expected to reach the most restrictive yellow level of the state’s four-step plan for a safer economy when updated statistics are released on Tuesday. Ferrer said that if the county qualifies for the relocation, a new health order will be published on Wednesday with lighter restrictions, which will take effect on Thursday.
Entering the yellow level will mainly allow higher capacity constraints for most businesses. For example, in fitness centers, card rooms, wineries and breweries, the indoor attendance limit may be increased to 50%, compared to the current 25%; bars will be able to open indoors at 25%; outdoor venues such as Dodger Stadium can increase capacity by up to 67% from the current 33%; and amusement parks can allow 35%, compared to 25%.
The county also revised its health order last week to include changes to the guidelines for wearing masks recommended last week for fully vaccinated people by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The audits also indicate that COVID surveillance tests are no longer recommended for fully vaccinated people unless they work in qualified nurses or other high-risk facilities, travel abroad, or are required by a specific business or facility.
City News Service contributed to this report.