Due to the presence of the newly identified Omicron variant, L.A. County modified its Health Officer Order for Skilled Nursing Facilities to require routine testing of residents and staff and recent testing for visitors entering any indoor spaces at these facilities.

From December 15 through January 31, all skilled nursing facility residents, employees, and contractors who may encounter residents must test for COVID-19 infection once a week, regardless of vaccination status. Additionally, to obtain entry into a skilled nursing facility, all visitors regardless of vaccination status must provide proof of either:

A negative PCR test performed within 72 hours prior to entry

OR

A negative antigen test performed within 24 hours prior to entry.

Antigen test kits will be made available to skilled nursing facilities to facilitate visitor testing.

People who show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 within the last 90 days (i.e. a positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days prior) are exempt from weekly testing and from showing proof of a negative viral test for entry.

Public Health teams have also realigned plans to ensure protection for those living and working at interim housing sites, jails, and shelters. This includes ensuring adequate supplies of testing kits and PPE, along with modifying policies to ensure safety of staff and residents.

With 1.7 million students and staff attending school in-person, Public Health is working with school districts to reinforce the importance of existing school-based health requirements and routine testing programs.

Public Health confirmed two additional deaths and 1,103 new cases of COVID-19, these numbers reflect the weekend reporting lag. Of the 2 new deaths reported today, one person who died was between the ages of 65 and 79 and the other was over the age of 80 years old. All had underlying conditions. To date, the total number of deaths in L.A. County is 27,248.

As of Dec. 5, Public Health has identified a total 1,537,450 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County, Long Beach and Pasadena.

As of Dec. 4, there are 595 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for more than 9,515,741 individuals, with 15% of people testing positive. Today’s test positivity rate is 1.2%.

Getting vaccinated or boosted remains critical as holiday traveling and gatherings begin. The vaccines are effective against the Delta variant and earlier strains of the virus, which allows us to remain hopeful that the approved vaccines will also provide some protection against Omicron. All residents across LA County should continue adhering to the masking requirements and wear a mask when indoors or at large outdoor mega events – regardless of vaccination status. Individuals should also wear a mask when at any crowded indoor or outdoor events.

Testing is an important tool in early detection of infection to reduce spread and Public Health encourages residents who have traveled for the holidays to get tested if they traveled internationally or to locations in this country with high transmission rates. Beginning today, international travelers arriving at the LAX international terminal are being offered free rapid COVID-19 tests and information on federal recommendations for quarantining and testing.  

Residents should also get tested if they participated at gatherings and events with large numbers of people, some of which may be unvaccinated. Residents are reminded that they are legally required to be isolated if they have a positive COVID test result and that vaccinated close contacts with symptoms and unvaccinated close contacts need to be quarantined.

“I send my heartfelt condolences to everyone mourning the loss of a loved one to COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “With the Omicron variant in L.A. County, Public Health is providing residents and our partners with information about Omicron and updated precautionary safety measures, which are even more critical for those in high-risk settings with increased opportunities for exposure. Over the course of the pandemic, these strategies have proven to be very effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19, and I encourage everyone to use these tools as we prepare for additional Omicron cases and a winter surge.”

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). 

 If you need assistance you can also call 1-833-540-0473 for help: 

Finding an appointment

Connect to free transportation to and from a vaccination site, or 

Schedule a home-visit if you are homebound. 

 For more information regarding COVID-19 in LA County you can also visit the Public Health website at www.publichealth.lacounty.gov 

Submitted by Public Health