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Los Angeles County coronavirus case numbers and deaths continue to drop as reopening nears

Andrea Castillo, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES — Days ahead of California’s official reopening, COVID-19 case numbers and deaths continue to fall.

On Saturday, the Los Angeles Department of Public Health confirmed 196 new cases and four deaths; two of the dead were over 65 and two were over 80. To date, more than 1.2 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the county, and more than 24,000 have died.

Currently there are 236 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 18% of them in intensive care.

County health officials said testing will become an important tool to prevent outbreaks after the reopening, and recommended testing for anyone with symptoms — regardless of vaccination status or recent infection. Testing is also recommended for unvaccinated people in close contact with someone who has potentially been exposed to COVID-19 or who spend time indoors around many unmasked people, regardless of symptoms.

“Transmission in L.A. County is low, but the people getting infected, unfortunately, are people who are not vaccinated,” said public health director Barbara Ferrer. “If you’re not yet vaccinated, you do not have the same protection as vaccinated people, so you will need to take extra care by keeping your mask on when you’re indoors and when you’re in an outdoor crowded situation. As the county reopens on June 15, masking will continue to be the best protection that unvaccinated people have.”

 

Anyone 12 or older in L.A. County is eligible for vaccination. Many sites don’t require an appointment and are open on weekends and evenings.

Starting Tuesday, the state will remove most remaining restrictions on businesses and significantly relax mask-wearing rules for people who are vaccinated.

Gov. Gavin Newsom will also begin rescinding dozens of emergency actions he imposed by executive order in response to the pandemic. Most will be rescinded on June 30, including a licensing waiver for California manufacturers producing goods critical to the pandemic response. Others, such as the waiver allowing government meetings to be held online, will remain in place until Sept. 30.

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