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Coronavirus

No Mask? Big fines in WeHo & Santa Monica as daily Covid-19 numbers skyrocket

Fines can be as steep as $5000 for not wearing a mask

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SANTA MONICA – Officials in Santa Monica and West Hollywood are cracking down on people ignoring the emergency orders requiring facial coverings in public both indoors and outside. In West Hollywood, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies will be citing people found in violation of the emergency order with a first time fine of $300.

In a media statement released Wednesday, the Commander of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s substation cautioned;

“Beginning this month, we will start issuing Administrative Citations for people who are not conforming to the Order to wear a face cover/mask in public,” the statement read. “Our last option was to conduct enforcement by issuing an Administrative Citation, but the risk to Community health is too great.”

The City of Santa Monica amended its emergency declaration Thursday, authorizing fines of $100, $250 or $500 for people who refuse to wear face coverings as required.

These actions took place as California saw another dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases with 7,580 new cases reported and 94 deaths. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 55 new deaths and 2,204 new cases of confirmed COVID-19 in the County.

The debate over facial coverings has raged for the past two weeks since California Governor Gavin Newsom mandated their use statewide, which included officials in jurisdictions in Southern California that had publicly stated they would not enforce the Governor’s order.

During his daily noon press conference Thursday, Newsom pleaded with Californians to turn to their “better angels” and use common sense by wearing masks and skipping traditional July Fourth gatherings with family and friends.

He acknowledged however that authorities can only do so much when it comes to the behavior of individuals

We’re not going into everybody’s backyard and enforcing,” the governor said. “We’re just encouraging people to be safe, to be thoughtful about themselves and others.”

Businesses also face steep fines for not complying with the governor’s order. In Santa Monica, businesses that violate health orders and protocols will face fines of $500, $750 or $1,000.

The California Department of Health sent letters Thursday to every employer registered to do business in the state, about 350,000 businesses, warning them that failure to implement the face coverings order could result in fines and potential criminal prosecution.

Some people are exempt from wearing a mask under the Governor’s order. Exemptions include children aged 2 and under, people who are hearing impaired and people with a medical, mental health, or developmental disability that prevents wearing a face covering.

Unfortunately, we continue to see negative trends in the data and we urgently need to make a change in the trajectory,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health for Los Angeles County said. “We must make sure we are not unnecessarily spending time outside with others and use this opportunity as a countywide reset. We need everyone’s help.”

A statement released by Dr. Ferrer’s office noted;

As we head into the 4th of July weekend, Public Health reminds everyone that all events and gatherings unless specifically allowed by the Health Officer Order remain prohibited. Please enjoy your weekend with your household only. If you do go out, Public Health urges everyone to avoid the Three C’s: Crowded places, Confined spaces, and Close contact with others not in your household. Everyone should always wear a face-covering securely over your nose and mouth and keep six feet apart from others not in your household when out in public. Businesses must continue to follow Public Health directives.”

More than 50,000 new coronavirus infections were reported across the United States on Thursday. The alarming new milestone came as some of the country’s most populous states reported major surges.

During congressional testimony earlier this week Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that at least 12 states are seeing a rise in daily hospitalizations. The increase in patients can once again overwhelm hospitals, putting critical resources including staffing, beds and ventilators in short supply he told lawmakers.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who testified alongside Dr. Redfield told lawmakers that “we recommend masks for everyone” and “masks are extremely important.”

Speaking to FOX11 LA news Thursday evening, WeHo City Councilmember John Duran told a reporter “[…] it’s a face condom! During AIDS we learned to put a prophylactic between me and you. Same thing. Mask up!”

Duran also noted that violators can face a $300 fine for the first offense, a second offense will cost $1000, a third offense will be $2000 and the fourth offense will cost $5000.

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Coronavirus

Spread of COVID escalates to 2K a day, Masking order in effect Saturday

The urgency to get more people vaccinated remains high with this level of spread. For everyone whose eligible the time do it is now.

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health continues to see alarming trends of increased community spread as Public Health confirms 1,902 new cases of COVID-19 Friday.

As of July 9, 2021, the 7-day daily average case rate is 8.2 per 100,000, up from 7.1, indicating sustained and increased community transmission. This number will continue to increase with each day that the number of cases reported is higher the previous day.

Cases are highest and rising the fastest in adults age 18 to 49 years old.  Of the new cases reported by Public Health today, 71% are among adults 18 to 49 years old.

Today’s test positivity rate is 3.8%.  In early-June, test positivity was near 0.4%.

Public Health strongly urges those that are eligible and not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated now.  Being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 lowers your risk of infection, and more significantly lowers your chance of being hospitalized or dying if you do get infected. The risk of increased spread is highest among individuals that remain unvaccinated. The more COVID-19 spreads, the more opportunities it has to mutate – and the more COVID-19 mutates, the greater the chance there may be another variant that can spread even more quickly or cause more harm to the people it infects.

Wearing a mask when indoors reduces the risk of both getting and transmitting the virus. The Los Angeles County Health Officer Order has been modified to require masking for everyone while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Despite the very low percentage of fully vaccinated people that have gotten infected since vaccinations started in December 2020, a total of 4,122 cases out of 4,769,828 fully vaccinated people (~0.09%) have been reported, as of July 13, 2021. While this is a small percentage, it is not an insignificant number in light of Los Angeles County’s current substantial and increasing community transmission. It demonstrates that even with highly effective vaccines, there is still potential for breakthrough infections that can put everyone at risk – including those who are unable to be vaccinated. So, masking by all indoors can reduce everyone’s risk of infection and the risk of transmission to others if infected.

The modified Order has been issued today and will take effect on Saturday, July 17 at 11:59 p.m. Some exceptions will apply, similar to masking requirements that were in place prior to the June 15 reopening.

To date, Public Health identified 1,264,450 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 24,568 deaths. Of the six new deaths reported today, one person that passed away was over the age of 80, one person who passed was between the ages of 65 and 79, two people who passed were between the ages of 50 and 64 and, one person who passed was between the ages of 30 and 49. One death was reported by the City of Long Beach. Testing results are available for more than 7,155,000 individuals with 16% of people testing positive.

“We thank the millions of residents that are vaccinated and the schools and businesses that continue to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. We have all seen COVID-19 spread very fast in just a small amount time.  The alarming increases in cases, positivity rates and the increase in hospitalizations signals immediate action must be taken to slow the spread of COVID-19. Otherwise, we may quickly see more devastating illness and death among the millions of residents,”

“We thank the millions of residents that are vaccinated and the schools and businesses that continue to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. We have all seen COVID-19 spread very fast in just a small amount time.  The alarming increases in cases, positivity rates and the increase in hospitalizations signals immediate action must be taken to slow the spread of COVID-19. Otherwise, we may quickly see more devastating illness and death among the millions of residents,” said Muntu Davis, MD, Los Angeles County Health Officer.

“Without physical distancing and capacity limits during a time of substantial community spread, masking by everyone indoors is a simple and effective action we all can take to lower risk of transmission while limiting disruption to normal business capacity and operations. The urgency to get more people vaccinated remains high with this level of spread. For everyone whose eligible and still waiting to get vaccinated, the time do it is now,” he added

Without physical distancing and capacity limits during a time of substantial community spread, masking by everyone indoors is a simple and effective action we all can take to lower risk of transmission while limiting disruption to normal business capacity and operations. The urgency to get more people vaccinated remains high with this level of spread. For everyone whose eligible and still waiting to get vaccinated, the time do it is now.”

Anyone 12 and older living or working in L.A. County can get vaccinated against COVID-19. To make it as easy as possible for eligible L.A. County residents to get vaccinated, L.A. County continues to offer vaccines at many different sites across the county. This week, there are 771 sites offering vaccinations including pharmacies, clinics, community sites, and hospitals and 286 sites where mobile teams will be offering vaccinations, which are concentrated in higher-need, harder hit areas. You can obtain vaccines at County-run sites, all the LA city-run sites, almost all mobile sites, and many community sites without an appointment. Many sites are open on weekends and have evening hours.

Beginning today, Friday, July 17 through next Thursday, July 22 at County-run vaccination sites, LA City sites, and St. John’s Well Child and Family Center sites, everyone 18 and older coming to get a vaccine will have an opportunity to win one of seven packages of tickets to family fun at the Staples Center, including performances by the Harlem Globetrotters, Disney on Ice, and the Gold Over America tour starring Simone Biles.

To find a vaccination site near you, make an appointment at vaccination sites, and much more, visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish). If you don’t have internet access, can’t use a computer, or you’re over 65, you can call 1-833-540-0473 for help finding an appointment, connecting to free transportation to and from a vaccination site, or scheduling a home-visit if you are homebound.  Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status.

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Coronavirus

Masks will be required indoors regardless of vaccination status

The new masking order goes into effect 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, July 17.

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – All County residents regardless of vaccination status will be required to wear masks in indoor public settings as COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated have risen to alarming levels, LA County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said Thursday.

The new masking order goes into effect 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, July 17.

“We’re not where we need to be for the millions at risk of infection here in Los Angeles County, and waiting to do something will be too late, given what we’re seeing,” Davis said. The county recorded 1,537 new coronavirus cases Thursday, a 83% increase over the last week, according to the LA County Department of Health.

In a related story the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday afternoon that the University of California has announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will be required before the fall term begins for all students, faculty and staff, becoming the nation’s largest public university system to mandate the vaccines even though the shots don’t yet have full federal approval.

As the highly contagious Delta variant spreads amid lower vaccination rates among younger people, unvaccinated students without approved exemptions will be barred from in-person classes, events and campus facilities, including housing.

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Coronavirus

LA County- 5th day of 1K+ new COVID19 cases, Delta variant increases

The COVID-19 vaccines are the most powerful tool to reduce the risk of serious illness if infected Public Health says

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 1,103 new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday which marked the fifth straight day of more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases. “One month ago, on June 13, the five-day average of cases was 201 and today the five-day average is 1,095,” Public Health said in a statement. “This is an increase of more than 500% in just one month.”

More worrisome officials said was that the test positivity rate has increased nearly 700% from the 0.5% seen a month ago; Tuesday’s test positivity rate was 3.4%. The statewide seven-day positivity rate is 2.7%, which is 50% higher than a week ago and at the highest point since late February, according to data from the California Department of Public Health.

Both state and local health officials expected a jump in cases when capacity limits were lifted for businesses and most mask restrictions and social distancing requirements were eliminated for vaccinated people in mid-June.

A major concern right now is Delta, a highly contagious strain which was first identified in India last December. It then swept rapidly through that country and Great Britain as well. The first Delta case in the United States was diagnosed a couple of months ago (in March) and it is now the dominant strain in all 50 states, hitting hardest where vaccination rates are low.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) shows that the Delta variant is the cause more than half of all new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and it is now the leading cause of coronavirus related deaths among those who are unvaccinated.

“The COVID-19 vaccines are the most powerful tool to reduce the risk of serious illness if infected. A significant number of unvaccinated people indoors, with a highly contagious Delta variant circulating, makes it easy for this variant to be transmitted at higher rates,” said Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health. If you are not fully vaccinated yet, wear your mask in all indoor public settings and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently when outside your home. Get vaccinated without delay to have the best protection.” 

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