If California still used its level-based model to lift restrictions on coronaviruses, Los Angeles County and 16 others would now be in the most restrictive purple level.
On June 15, California lifted most of its restrictions and got rid of its color-coded tier system, the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which was first introduced in August 2020 after an increase summer cases.
If that plan to reopen were still in effect, much of the state’s population would still face many closures and restrictions at this time, including no meals inside. This is thanks to a recent increase in cases – largely among the unvaccinated.
The state’s color-coded tier system originally ranked counties below the purple tier when the seven-day average daily rate of COVID-19 cases reached seven cases per 100,000 people. Later, in March 2021, when vaccines began to become available, the rules were revised to classify the purple level for counties with a seven-day average daily case rate of 10 per 100,000 people. (Case positivity rate and equitable vaccine distribution also played a role in tiering.)
At present, the seven-day moving averages for many counties, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento, have exceeded that rate by 10 per 100,000 cases, as originally reported by the San Jose Mercury News. The seven-day average daily case rate in LA County was 13.5 per 100,000 on Tuesday.
According to the state’s public health department, the virus is spreading at a 7-day average daily rate of 6.3 cases per 100,000 people among the unvaccinated, but at a rate of 1.1 per 100,000 people among those vaccinated, the Mercury News reported. These county figures were not available.
The test positivity rate in LA County – the most populous in the state and nation – fell from 0.4% on June 15 to 4.8% on Tuesday. That’s an increase of more than 10 times since all sectors were allowed to fully reopen on June 15, health officials reported on Monday.
LA County has also seen a “significant increase” in COVID-19-related hospitalizations each day, health officials said. There are now more than 10,000 cases of COVID-19 per week, a rate that has not been reached since March, when the county was recovering from a devastating winter wave.
The county reported 1,821 new cases of COVID-19 and five deaths on Tuesday. That brings the total number of positive cases in all areas of LA County to over 1.2 million, with a total of 24,587 deaths.
The alarming increase in cases led county public health officials last week to reinstate a mask warrant, requiring residents to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.
“We all forgot about the level system because we wanted to,” Dr. John Swartzberg, professor emeritus of infectious diseases and vaccinology at UC Berkeley, told the Mercury News. “We are not in a very good place compared to where we were a month ago. “
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