Los Angeles County will issue a new Health Officer Order Friday to adhere to the California Department of Public Health’s directive that schools in 32 counties on the state’s monitoring list, including Los Angeles County, cannot resume in-person learning next month.
The state order allows superintendents to submit school district waiver requests to re-open elementary schools for approval by the local health officer only after review of local epidemiological data and intervention strategies, and in consultation with CDPH.
“While it is disheartening and unfortunate that Los Angeles County students can’t plan for a normal first day back at school, we respect the governor’s decision to insist that counties reduce the rate of community transmission before schools re-open for in-person classroom learning,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “This week, Los Angeles County has unfortunately reached grim milestones every day. We have reported the most cases in a single day, the most hospitalizations and tragically high death numbers. If we work together to do what is needed to slow the spread of the virus, this will help protect our children, our teachers and the many people who make a school function and who educate our children. I know this is difficult news for the children and families of Los Angeles County, and we will need to work together as a county to support quality distance learning opportunities for families and all children until students can get back to in-person instruction at their schools. The governor has made it clear that the path to re-opening schools is to get back to flattening the curve so that we can resume our recovery journey.”
In order for schools to re-open their campuses, Los Angeles County will have to remain off the monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. Counties are on the monitoring list because they have not achieved more than 150 tests per day per 100,000 people, or have more than 100 cases per 1,000 residents, or have case positivity rates greater than 8%, or have a 10% or more increase in hospitalizations over the past three days, or less than 20% of ICU beds are open, or less than 25% of ventilators are available.
At this time, Los Angeles County is on the monitoring list because it has a positivity rate of 9% and case rate of 307 positive cases per 100,000 residents. However, testing and hospital capacity remain adequate with almost 20,000 people tested daily. Both ICU bed and ventilator capacity remain adequate with 29% of ICU beds open and 64% of ventilator capacity available. More details can be found on the Recovery Dashboard.
The L.A. County reopening protocols will be modified to reflect the state’s directives.