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SCVNews.com | Wednesday COVID Roundup: County Health Officer Modifies Indoor Masking Requirement

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Wednesday 36 additional deaths, including a child between the ages of 5-11 and 1,934 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 39 new cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.

This new data brings Los Angeles County death totals to 30,447, county case totals to 2,787,359 and Santa Clarita Valley case totals to 71,520 since March of 2020.

Today, Public Health confirmed 36 additional deaths and 1,934 new cases of COVID-19. Of the 36 new deaths reported today, five people were between the ages of 30-49, four were between the ages of 50-64, 12 were between the ages of 65-79, and 13 were aged 80 years or older. Of the 36 newly reported deaths, 33 had underlying health conditions.  Information on the two deaths reported by the City of Long Beach is available at www.LongBeach.gov. To date, the total number of deaths in L.A. County is 30,447.

Public Health has reported a total of 2,787,359 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County. Today’s positivity rate is 2.3%.

There are 1,204 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for more than 11,375,100 individuals, with 22% of people testing positive.

County Health Officer to Modify Indoor Masking Requirement 

As the county continues to experience reduced COVID-19 spread, it is appropriate to consider fewer required safety measures, noting that vulnerable individuals should continue to layer in all protections possible. Given decreased risk, Public Health is modifying the Health Officer Order to allow establishments, businesses, and venues verifying vaccination status to offer optional masking for fully vaccinated individuals. The modified Health Officer Order will be posted today and will go into effect at 12:01am on Friday, Feb. 25.

The vaccines remain highly effective at slowing COVID-19 spread and preventing severe illness. For the week ending February 12, county residents who were unvaccinated were more than two and half times more likely to be infected when compared to individuals who were fully vaccinated. When comparing unvaccinated individuals with those vaccinated and fully boosted, unvaccinated people were nearly four times more likely to be infected.

The vaccine also continues to provide very strong protection against hospitalization and death. For the week ending February 12, unvaccinated people were five times more likely to be hospitalized compared to fully vaccinated residents. Fully vaccinated and boosted individuals were more than 13 times less likely to end up hospitalized compared to unvaccinated people. And the likelihood of dying was also significantly higher – 13 times higher – for unvaccinated residents compared to residents who were fully vaccinated.

  Given lower hospital admissions and the effectiveness of the vaccines in reducing severe illness, changes have been made in the Health Officer Order that allow establishments, businesses, or venues two options for removing masking requirements for fully vaccinated individuals.

Option 1: Starting this Friday, establishments, businesses, or venues that want to allow fully vaccinated customers and workers to unmask while indoors must:

-Verify that 100% of customers (5 and older) and workers prior to, or upon, entry to indoor spaces:

-Provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19, or

Provide proof of a recent negative COVID-19 viral test result.  Tests for customers must be taken within two days of entry if a PCR test, or one day if an antigen test.  Employees will be allowed to submit a negative test result every three days.

Those who are not fully vaccinated or do not show proof of vaccination, are required to provide a negative test, and continue wearing a well-fitting mask while indoors (as required by the state), except when actively eating or drinking.

Option 2: Starting this Friday, establishments, businesses, or venues that want to allow their fully vaccinated customers to unmask indoors while all onsite workers remain masked, must:

-Verify that 100% of customers (5 and older) prior to, or upon, entry to indoor spaces

-Provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19, or

-Provide proof of a recent negative COVID-19 viral test result.  Tests for customers must have been taken within two days of entry if a PCR test or one day if an antigen test.

-Adhere to the following regarding customers and masking:

-Fully vaccinated customers may be unmasked in the indoor setting.

-Customers that are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear a well-fitting mask while indoors (as required by the state), except when actively eating or drinking.

Any individual showing proof of full vaccination prior to entering can still choose to wear a mask indoors.

For more information, please visit the Toolkit for Lifting of Indoor Masking Requirement for Fully Vaccinated Customers and Fully Vaccinated Workers.

“Our hearts remain with those families experiencing the sorrow of losing those they love to COVID-19.” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “While there are powerful tools that impede virus transmission, none are perfect which is why we often need to use a variety of safety measures to reduce transmission.  When transmission is very high, we need to create the most complete shield we can so that’s why it’s important that we layer in all the protections at hand. As transmission drops and there is less virus circulating, some tools may afford significant protections against the very worst risks associated with COVID.  Because vaccines are one of these tools, with lower rates of hospital admissions and COVID hospitalizations, it is appropriate in settings verifying vaccination or negative test status, that we transition to strongly recommending masking instead of requiring masking.”

To keep workplaces and schools open, residents and workers are asked to:

– Get tested to help reduce the spread, especially if you traveled for the holidays, have had a possible exposure, or have symptoms, or are gathering with people not in your household

– Adhere to masking requirements when indoors or at crowded outdoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status

– Residents are legally required to be isolated if they have a positive COVID test result and vaccinated close contacts with symptoms and unvaccinated close contacts need to be quarantined.

For information on where you can get tested, please visit www.covid19.lacounty.gov/testing/.

For updated isolation and quarantine guidance, please visit www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and are recommended for everyone 5 years old and older to help protect against COVID-19. Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status. Appointments are not needed at all Public Health vaccination sites and many community sites where first, second, and third doses are available.

To find a vaccination site near you, or to make an appointment, please visit:

www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) or

www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish).

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital

As of 5:30 p.m. Friday Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital did not report updated COVID information.

Privacy laws prohibit the hospital from releasing the community of residence for patients who die there; that info is reported by the L.A. County Public Health COVID-19 dashboard, which generally lags 48 hours behind.

William S. Hart Union High School District COVID-19 Dashboard

The William S. Hart Union High School District provides ongoing information to our community regarding COVID-19 cases while maintaining confidentiality for our students and staff. The COVID-19 case data below is updated regularly to indicate any currently confirmed COVID-19 positive case in staff members or students by school site. The data below is specific to individuals who have been physically present on a District campus within 14 days of receiving a positive COVID-19 test. The District, in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, conducts contact tracing and directly notifies and provides resources for parents of students identified as close contacts (6 feet or less for 15 cumulative minutes or more).

Note: To see the communication process in the event of a positive COVID-19 case, visit https://www.hartdistrict.org/apps/pages/covid-19dashboard.

Student Dashboard

Staff Dashboard

Santa Clarita Valley Wednesday Update
As of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, the L.A. County Public Health dashboard reported no additional deaths from COVID-19 leaving the total number of deaths from COVID-19 in the SCV to 426.

The following is the community breakdown per L.A. County’s dashboard:

Santa Clarita: 350

Castaic: 27

Acton: 15

Unincorporated Canyon Country: 9 (revised from 10)

Stevenson Ranch: 10

Agua Dulce: 5

Val Verde: 3

Valencia: 2

Unincorporated Bouquet Canyon: 2

Elizabeth Lake: 1

Newhall: 1

unincorporated Saugus/Canyon Country: 1

Lake Hughes: 0 (**revised from 1)

 

SCV Cases

Of the 71,520 cases reported to Public Health for the SCV to date, the community breakdown is as follows:

City of Santa Clarita: 53,164

* Castaic:7,031

Stevenson Ranch: 3,955

Canyon Country (unincorporated portion): 2,544

Acton: 1,494

Val Verde: 822

Agua Dulce: 773

Valencia (unincorporated portion west of I-5): 661

Saugus (unincorporated portion):  309

Elizabeth Lake: 202

Bouquet Canyon: 147

Lake Hughes: 145

Saugus/Canyon Country: 89

Newhall (Unincorporated portion): 87

Sand Canyon: 48

San Francisquito/Bouquet Canyon: 34

Placerita Canyon: 15

*Note: The county is unable to break out separate numbers for Castaic and PDC/NCCF because the county uses geotagging software that cannot be changed at this time, according to officials. Click here for the LASD COVID-19 dashboard.

California Wednesday

Statewide COVID-19 Data

Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are largely occurring among unvaccinated populations. See the data for unvaccinated and vaccinated cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Vaccinations

– 71,287,464 total vaccines administered.

– 82.9% of the eligible population (5+) has been vaccinated with at least one dose.

– 51,696 people a day are receiving COVID-19 vaccination (average daily dose count over 7 days).

Cases

– California has 8,343,213 confirmed cases to date.

– Wednesday’s average case count is 12,209 (average daily case count over 7 days).

– Unvaccinated people are 5.4 times more likely to get COVID-19 than boosted individuals (Jan. 31, 2022 – Feb. 6, 2022).

Testing

– The testing positivity rate is 3.7% (average rate over 7 days).

Hospitalizations

– There are 5,487 hospitalizations statewide.

– There are 1,069 ICU patients statewide.

– Unvaccinated people are 10.5 times more likely to be hospitalized than boosted individuals (Jan. 31, 2022 – Feb. 6, 2022).

Deaths

– There have been 83,569 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

– COVID-19 claims the lives of 180 Californians each day (average daily death count over 7 days).

– Unvaccinated people are 16.0 times more likely to die than boosted individuals (Jan. 24, 2022 – Jan. 30, 2022).

Health Care Workers

Note: As of February 17, local health departments have reported 147,203 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 559 deaths statewide.

Testing Turnaround Time

The testing turnaround time dashboard reports how long California patients are waiting for COVID-19 test results. During the week of Feb. 6 to Feb. 12, the average time patients waited for test results was one day. During this same time period, 87% of patients received test results in one day and 96% received them within two days.

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)

As of Feb. 14, there have been 817 cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) reported statewide. MIS-C is a rare inflammatory condition associated with COVID-19 that can damage multiple organ systems. MIS-C can require hospitalization and be life threatening.

Additional Updates

Mask Guidance: Under California’s mask guidance, universal masking is required only in specified higher risk settings like hospitals, public transit and congregate living facilities. Unvaccinated persons are required to mask in all indoor public settings. Fully vaccinated individuals are recommended to continue indoor masking when the risk may be high. Workplaces will continue to follow the COVID-19 prevention standards set by CalOSHA. Local health jurisdictions may implement requirements that are stricter than state guidance.

Slow the Spread: Get Vaccinated and Boosted for COVID-19

The risk for COVID-19 exposure and infection continues as a number of Californians remain unvaccinated and unboosted.

Real-world evidence continues to show that the vaccine is preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Public health officials urge Californians to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible.

It is recommended that every vaccinated person 12 years or older should get a booster as long as they received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least five months ago or they received their Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.

Vaccination appointments can be made by visiting myturn.ca.gov or calling 1-833-422-4255. The consent of a parent or legal guardian may be needed for those under age 18 to receive a vaccination. Visit Vaccinate All 58 to learn more about the safe and effective vaccines available for all Californians 5+.

Your Actions Save Lives

Protect yourself, family, friends and your community by following these prevention measures:

Keep California Healthy
Protect yourself, family, friends and your community by following these prevention measures:

– Get vaccinated when it’s your turn. Californians age 16+ are eligible to make an appointment.

– If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches), call your health care provider.

– If you believe you have been exposed, get tested. Free, confidential testing is available statewide.

– Keep gatherings small and outdoors and follow state and local public health guidance.

– Wear a mask and get the most out of masking – an effective mask has both good fit and good filtration.

– Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

– Delay non-essential travel outside of California until you are fully vaccinated. Follow California’s travel advisory.

– Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home from work and school if you feel ill.

– Add your phone to the fight by signing up for COVID-19 exposure notifications from CA Notify.

– Answer the call or text if a contact tracer from the CA COVID Team or your local health department tries to connect.

Additional data and udpates:

Tracking COVID-19 in California

State Dashboard – Daily COVID-19 data

County Map – Local data, including tier status and ICU capacity

Data and Tools – Models and dashboards for researchers, scientists, and the public

Blueprint for a Safer Economy– Data for establishing tier status

COVID-19 Race & Ethnicity Data – Weekly updated Race & Ethnicity data

Cases and Deaths by Age Group – Weekly updated Deaths by Age Group data

Health Equity Dashboard – See how COVID-19 highlights existing inequities in health

Tracking Variants – Data on the variants California is currently monitoring

Safe Schools for All Hub – Information about safe in-person instruction

School Districts Reopening Map – data on public schools and reported outbreaks

Always check with trusted sources for the latest accurate information about novel coronavirus:

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

California Department of Public Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Spanish

World Health Organization

L.A. County residents can also call 2-1-1.

What to Do if You Think You’re Sick
Call ahead: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or shortness of breath), call your health care provider before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken. More than 85 community testing sites also offer free, confidential testing: Find a COVID-19 Testing Site.

For more information about what Californians can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California.

California continues to issue guidance on preparing and protecting California from COVID-19. Consolidated guidance is available on the California Department of Public Health’s Guidance webpage.



SCVNews.com | Wednesday COVID Roundup: County Health Officer Modifies Indoor Masking Requirement
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