COVID-19 Update: COVID-19 testing positivity rate in L.A. remains low

L.A. County Department of Public Health
COVID-19 curve of cumulative cases in Los Angeles County as of Sept. 11.

Sloane Bozzi, News Editor

Los Angeles County has the most cases in the United States, as other hotspots like New York have seen a decrease in the number of new cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forecasts an upward trend in the number of deaths nationwide. L.A. County currently holds the record for the most confirmed cases in the nation, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center by Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.

We have compiled data and guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to provide an update for L.A. County. Data is up to date as of Sept. 11. Here is your weekly COVID-19 update.


Total cases:

Total count of cases and deaths as of Sept. 11. (L.A. County Department of Public Health)

Since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in L.A. County on Jan. 26, the number of positive cases continues to rise. Over 2% of L.A. County’s population of 10 million has COVID-19.

COVID-19 curve of cumulative cases in Los Angeles County as of Sept. 11. (L.A. County Department of Public Health)

Hospitalizations:

There are 877 COVID-19 positive patients currently hospitalized in L.A. County. 301 COVID-19 positive patients are in the Intensive Care Unit. The county currently has 924 available ICU beds.


Race and ethnicity:

L.A. County’s data shows cases and deaths disproportionately affect people of color.

The L.A. County Department of Public Health reported that Latinos make up 59.4% of cases with data on race and ethnicity, while the white population accounts for 12.6% of cases with data on race and ethnicity. Latinos account for 50.9% of all COVID-19 deaths.


Local official updates:

L.A. Public Health officials warn against trick-or-treating

The L.A. County Public Health Department has created guidelines for Halloween this year.

Health officials initially did not permit trick-or-treating, alongside other Halloween activities this year. The revised holiday guidelines reclassified the activity to “not recommended.”
“This year, it’s just not safe to celebrate in the ways we usually do,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said on Wednesday. “We are recommending that trick-or-treating not happen this year.”

County partners with SafePass app to further contact tracing efforts

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a partnership between L.A. County and SafePass, an app that tracks those who may be exposed to coronavirus.

SafePass is offered through Citizen, a widely-used safety alerts app. Users will be notified of extended exposure to a known case and can track their own symptoms with SafePass.

The app does not identify the person who tested positive, according to Garcetti.

L.A. County’s testing positivity rate is starting to decline

As the number of cases climbed over the summer, the testing positivity rate is beginning to decline. Dr. Ferrer said the County has seen a less than 5% positivity rate — the lowest rate since the beginning of the pandemic.

Similarly, the hospitalization rate has steadily declined since peaks following July 4.


What’s open:
Grocery stores
Essential retail
Some non-essential retail with modifications
Parks and beaches with modifications
Golf courses
Hotels with modifications
Shared residential pools
Nail salons – (outdoors with modifications)
Hair salons – limited to 25% capacity
Barber shops – limited to 25% capacity
Gyms (outdoors with modifications)
Indoor shopping malls (with modifications)
Zoos (outdoors with modifications)

What’s closed:
Indoor dining at restaurants
Indoor houses of worship
Indoor gyms
Bars
Tattoo shops

Face masks are still required in public. Gatherings should be limited to only people in your household.

Testing:

Several testing centers were closed Thursday and Friday due to poor air conditions from nearby fires. Affected sites included Cal State L.A. in Los Angeles, College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Panorama City in Panorama, Montebello Civic Center in Montebello, East L.A. College in Monterey Park, Pomona Fairplex in Pomona and the San Gabriel Valley Airport in El Monte.

The L.A. County website has a list of testing locations available for both walk-up and drive-up testing. Testing is available by appointment only.

A comprehensive map of testing locations can be found here.