COVID-19 Update: State and Los Angeles County guidelines permit small gatherings

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. 15. Here is your weekly COVID-19 update.

Total cases:

Total count of cases and deaths as of Oct. 15. (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. 15. (L.A. County Department of Public Health)


There are 735 COVID-19 positive patients currently hospitalized in L.A. County. There are 188 COVID-19 positive patients in the Intensive Care Unit. The county currently has 984 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:

State and local officials permit small gatherings

Last weekend, the state allowed for private gatherings of up to three households — as long as the gatherings are outdoors and families are distanced and everyone is wearing a face mask. Food available at gatherings must be served in disposable containers.

L.A. County updated its local health orders on Wednesday to follow state guidelines. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and health officials recommended creating a “quasi-bubble” with the same households every time to reduce the risk of spread.

Large gatherings and parties are still prohibited by the county.

Local officials move towards reopening more schools

Garcetti issued an emergency order on Wednesday for schools that operate under city conditional use permits. Through the order, campuses can submit temporary operating plans for when schools reopen for classroom learning.

The order allows schools to propose an adjusted school year calendar, a transformation of facilities to expand the number of classrooms, changes to drop-off and pick-up locations, and more faculty and staff to accommodate smaller class sizes.

The decision to reopen schools for certain services falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Health. Barbara Ferrer, the director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health, presented the total number of schools that are currently open for high needs students on Wednesday.

Of the 837 schools in L.A. County, 72% are public and 15% are charter. The remaining 13% are private schools. The Department of Public Health is still accepting applications for permits for grades TK-2.

Mayor Garcetti encourages adopting safe Halloween traditions

During a press conference on Wednesday, Garcetti reminded Angelenos to reduce the risk of spreading the virus by modifying Halloween traditions.
He said haunted houses and Halloween parties are not permitted, and trick-or-treating doesn’t allow for effective social-distancing. He did reflect on his role as a father and encouraged families to think creatively this year.

“Create your own tradition this year, but create one that is safe,” Garcetti said.

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.