Deaths: Cases and hospitalizations have been trending up but deaths have remained relatively steady. Courtesy image

Los Angeles County has moved from a low to medium severity covid environment and while officials are sounding alarms over rising cases, no new restrictions or mandates are on the horizon. 

On Thursday, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said most metrics were heading up including case counts, transmission rates and hospitalizations. However, deaths remained low. 

Ferrer said case counts, average daily new cases and average daily case rate are all increasing. “This means that LA County has moved from low to medium per CDCs community level ratings,” she said. “While the test positivity remains relatively low, this rate also increased to 3.5%. That’s about two times higher than the rate that we reported one month ago on April 18.”

She said the County’s seven-day average for hospitalizations is up to 330 from 230 a month ago but deaths over the same time are holding steady at about seven per day. 

None of the increases constitute a spike but they are all steadily trending up. 

“As we’ve discussed throughout the pandemic, one of our key objectives has been to prevent strain on the healthcare system so that we can provide necessary COVID care while also maintaining access to routine and urgent non-COVID medical services for our residents,” she said.

Ferrer said moving to the medium tier could signal a pending strain on local hospitals but the County wasn’t alone as many areas around the nation are seeing an increase in overall Covid activity. 

Ferrer said the County has no plans to issue new countywide restrictions or mandates and is already offering access to vaccines, testing and therapeutics as is required of areas in the medium level. However, she said nursing care facilities will have to implement stricter masking requirements to protect their patients. 

In addition, she said anyone planning any kind of gathering should be extremely cautious about potential exposure before a trip and make use of the available testing systems both before and after travel. 

She said her office is tracking some increased outbreaks at schools but she said the county has the tools available to manage the problem if residents use them. 

“As we move into the CDC Medium Community Level and we see elevated levels of concern among our Early Alert signals, the task in front of us is similar to the work we’ve had to do at other points over the past two and a half years, slow transmission,” she said. “We know what works, masking, testing and vaccination along with some systems and policies that support the use of these and other effective safety measures. If each of us takes advantage of the good access we have to these effective resources. I’m hopeful that we can slow transmission again, prevent strain on our healthcare system and protect each other.”

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...