Photo by Kit Karzen

Los Angeles County Health Department officials said residents and businesses could possibly return to school and in-person dining experiences if transmission rates continue to decrease as they have in recent weeks. 

During a conference held Monday, Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis detailed how the county’s data has shown positive trends since in-person dining experiences and other business services were forced to close, after being allowed to reopen, back in July.

As he announced 13 additional deaths reported Monday, which brings the total COVID-related death toll to 5,558, and the 232,893 cases that have occurred in Los Angeles County to date, Davis said the average number of deaths reported each day has returned back to where it was two months ago and nearly all of the county’s recovery metrics have shown improvement. 

“While no number of deaths is acceptable, we’re seeing this number going the right direction,” Davis said. “If we can maintain this lower transmission, it means that we could begin to think about more businesses reopening on someday moving their operations back indoors,” he added. But cautious reopening would not mean that residents return to living just as they did before COVID; it means the county would take to heart the lessons that were learned from the increased caseloads of July proceed to make infection control practices a new normal part of daily living for the foreseeable future.

“I’d like to stress the importance of all of us learning from our recent past, and the spikes in cases, hospitalizations as well as deaths in our community that we experienced in July. As we continue our journey of recovery, we must all proceed with caution,” Davis said, sharing everybody has a role in the recovery efforts. 

“Together, we must all take our role seriously and be diligent. It is everyone’s goal to get to a place where we are safe for reopening, but community transmission rates must continue to decrease if we are to get to this place,” Davis said prior to the conclusion of his remarks. 

“This has been an extraordinarily difficult time,” and so many have lost loved ones or friends while others across the county have also lost jobs or been forced to close their businesses in recent months, according to Davis. “Workers continue to do their job every day with incredible bravery and skill. Parents and children are navigating so much in terms of returning to school with distance learning. This understandably takes a toll, and I want to remind all of you that if you’re stressed and worried — you’re not alone and help is available. There is crisis and emotional wellness resources at the Department of Mental Health helpline,” which are available by calling 1-800-854-7719.

“I encourage you to reach out to resources for help,” Davis said. “And I want to remind you that we are seeing improvement, and if this continues we can continue our recovery journey,” and be closer to getting back to the way of life that everybody is accustomed to.