LA County seeing lowest COVID-19 case rate among U.S. big cities

LOS ANGELES (KABC) – With California allowing most businesses to reopen at full capacity and preparing to ease mask restrictions, Los Angeles County has made tremendous strides since the worst, darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The district’s health director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, noted that at the height of the pandemic in January 2020, the county recorded an average of 277 deaths per day from COVID-19.

Now that vaccinations keep moving forward, the daily death rate is in the low single digits, she said.

Similarly, 15,000 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the county every day. Now it sees about 150 new positive tests a day.

And the Los Angeles metropolitan area tops other major cities across the country with the lowest rates per capita, she noted.

Barbara Ferrer describes Los Angeles County’s progress since the peak of the pandemic

Los Angeles County has about 1.5 new cases per 100,000 population. For comparison, the New York metropolitan area has 2.8 per 100,000 residents, while Miami has risen to 9.1 cases.

“After 16 months of tremendous upheaval and losses we can now share real hope,” Ferrer said on Tuesday.

At one point, she said there were 8,000 COVID-19 patients in Los Angeles County’s hospitals. Today it is usually less than 250.

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Ferrer and other county officials spoke the day California lifted most of its pandemic restrictions on corporate capacity and meeting size restrictions.

For many companies, it was a time to celebrate. Langer’s Deli reopened for personal dining for the first time in more than a year.

“It’s a day of smiles,” said owner Norm Langer. “I feel great. It’s an opportunity for me to bring all of my servers back. It’s an opportunity for me to welcome my customers back and try to put a smile on everyone’s face.”

There will still be some masking requirements, however, with LA County following state and federal guidelines.
For example, masks will continue to be required on all Los Angeles County’s public transportation, regardless of vaccination status, as well as in schools and daycare centers, healthcare facilities, correctional facilities, and the homeless shelters.

The workplace rules for masks are governed by Cal OSHA, which is expected to make a decision later this week to bring the state into line with CDC guidelines that only unvaccinated workers must wear a mask while at work.

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