L.A. County has turned a corner in the ongoing Covid-19 surge with the seven day average daily case count dropping by 67 percent from over 15,000 on Jan. 8 to 5,093 on Jan. 27.

On Monday, the Department of Public Health reported 4,223 new cases and Director Barbara Ferrer said the County was in a “critical moment” in its fight against the pandemic.

“Some restrictions have been lifted, although it is not time to relax,” said Ferrer. “It is time to remain super vigilant against this deadly virus and continue to stay home as much as possible.”

In order to keep case counts decreasing and mitigate the risk posed by new potentially more contagious variants of Covid-19, County officials urged everyone to follow the latest health orders as closely as possible.

For outdoor dining this means maintaining tables of no more than six people spaced eight feet apart, keeping TVs turned off and having customer facing staff wear both a face shield and a mask.

Ferrer said that residents can report non-compliant restaurants to the Public Health Department by calling their tip line at 888-700-9995 or filing a complaint at publichealth.lacounty.gov.

Officials urged residents to not let the relaxing of restrictions cause them to relax their behavior.

“With our new health officer order now in place there’s an opportunity to return to some limited activities that you missed, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to sacrifice,” said County Supervisor Hilda Solis. “For example, only go to restaurants with those in your household, wear a mask when a server comes to your table, and please do not gather for the Super Bowl.”

While the deadly heights of the ongoing surge appear to be behind the County, community transmission remains widespread with daily new case counts hovering between 4,000 and 5,000 compared to less than 1000 last September.

Ferrer said that the drop in cases can be directly attributed to the public abiding by health orders over the past month. She also suggested that growing levels of community immunity may be contributing to lower infection rates.

“We probably by this week have a million people who were vaccinated with their first dose. That’s 10 percent of people who live here in L.A. County… and the estimates are as high as 30 percent of people in L.A. County have at one point or another during this pandemic been infected,” said Ferrer. “That translates to a lot of people here who are not as susceptible, as the virus continues to circulate.”

As of Jan. 25 nearly 800,000 vaccine doses had been administered and 7.9 percent of County residents had received a first dose including 75 percent of all eligible people at skilled nursing facilities.

L.A. County is the most populous county in America and has vaccinated a higher percentage of the population than Cook County and Harris County — the second and third most populous counties, according to Solis.

Officials said the limited vaccine supply continues to be the largest restriction on their ability to immunize the population. The number of weekly doses shipped to L.A. County has not significantly increased since Dec. 28.

Clara@smdp.com