COVID-19 Update: Counties must lessen positivity rate in underserved communities in order to reopen

Sloane Bozzi, News Editor

Los Angeles County has the highest number of cumulative cases in the United States, while multiple other counties in California see a rise in the number of cases per-capita.

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.

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 Oct. 8. Here is your weekly COVID-19 update.

Total cases:

Total count of cases and deaths as of Oct. 8. (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 had COVID-19.

COVID-19 curve of cumulative cases in Los Angeles County as of Oct. 8. (L.A. County Department of Public Health)


There are 724 COVID-19 positive patients currently hospitalized in L.A. County. 185 COVID-19 positive patients are in the Intensive Care Unit. The county currently has 958 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 60.1% of cases with data on race and ethnicity compared to the population, while the white population accounts for 13.1% of cases compared to the population. Latinos account for 51.4% of all COVID-19 deaths when compared to the population.

Local official updates:

New state equity measure

A new state requirement will not allow counties to reopen unless the infection rate decreases among Black, Latino and Pacific Islander communities. The new metric was instituted on Tuesday.

In order for a county to move into a less restrictive tier, the test positivity rate in its underserved communities must be equal to or lower than the county’s overall test positivity rate.

Test positivity rate would have to be at or below 8% and case rate would have to be at or below seven new cases per 100,000. Through the new metric, the case rate in the County’s lowest-resourced areas is 4.6.

The County’s current case rate is 7.4, which prevents advancement to a new tier.

L.A. County is currently at the widespread tier.

“I want to thank the state for actually adding an equity measure to the metrics that they collect and require each county to meet in order to advance on the recovery journey,” said Barbara Ferrer, the director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health in an update on Wednesday.

The requirement aims to lessen the disparity of test positivity rate of underserved communities and the rate of the county overall.

Parking tickets

L.A. City will resume issuing parking tickets on Oct. 15. Violations related to overnight parking, oversized vehicles, parking in anti-gridlock and peak-hour zones will result in tickets.

Pausing the distribution of parking tickets led to a loss of revenue for the City, as well as unkempt streets.

Tickets for parking violations related to street sweeping were temporarily paused due to the pandemic as residents worked from home. Starting on Oct. 15, those in violation of street-sweeping signs may receive a $73 parking ticket.

Free flu shots in Panorama City

Free flu shots will be available by appointment only at The Plant Shopping Center in Panorama City on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Register on-site or in advance through the website.

Ferrer promotes MLK Public Health Healing Center’s services

Public health director Barbara Ferrer encouraged Angelenos to take advantage of the MLK Public Health Healing and Trauma Prevention Center during an L.A. County COVID-19 update on Wednesday.

The center’s services focus on helping with the community’s emotional well-being during the pandemic. Food distribution takes place on the first and third Thursday of the month. The healing center also provides online therapy, yoga and dance classes.

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 – limited to 25% capacity
Hair salons – limited to 25% capacity
Barber shops – limited to 25% capacity
Gyms (outdoors with modifications)
Indoor shopping malls – limited to 25% capacity
Zoos (outdoors with modifications)

What’s closed:
Indoor dining at restaurants
Indoor houses of worship
Indoor gyms
Tattoo shops
Face masks are still required in public. Gatherings should be limited to only people in your household.


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.