Public Health Encourages Everyone to Continue Using the Tools We Have to Slow the Spread of COVID-19
Today, Public Health has confirmed 197 new deaths and 3,254 new cases of confirmed COVID-19. To date, Public Health has identified 1,164,769 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 18,984 deaths.
As we have learned over the past year, coronavirus is spread via respiratory droplets expelled by an infected person. Smaller droplets and particles can remain suspended in the air for many minutes to hours and over long distances (usually greater than 6 feet). This is why wearing a mask, in addition to physical distancing, is so important. These two actions together help prevent people from both getting and spreading COVID-19.
This week, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released new recommendations on masking. Masks work best when everyone wears them consistently and correctly over their mouth and nose; however, not all masks offer the same protection. When choosing a mask, make sure that: 1) it has two or more layers of breathable, tightly woven material; 2) it completely covers your nose and mouth; and 3) it fits snugly against your face, including on the sides, and has no gaps. It is also recommended that it has a nose wire to keep air from leaking out of the top of the mask, which will also help reduce fogging if you wear glasses.
If you need or want extra protection or a better fit, CDC recommends either “double masking” by wearing two masks (a disposable mask underneath and a cloth mask on top) or wearing a cloth mask combined with a fitter or brace. It is not recommended to double mask with a KN95 or two disposable masks as this does not improve the fit.
As a reminder, a mask is NOT a substitute for physical distancing. Masks are to be worn in addition to staying at least 6 feet apart when around people who don’t live with you, whether you are inside or outside.
“For all of those in our County who have lost a loved one to COVID-19, we extend our deepest condolences to you and your family,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “On the eve of Valentine’s Day, we encourage everyone to be loving to others and always wear a mask when out of your house, keep a distance of at least six feet from people that don't live with you, and stay home and away from others if you are sick or are currently under isolation or quarantine. These are simple actions that will slow the spread of COVID-19, save lives, and help end this pandemic. In these times of vaccine scarcity, these are the most effective tools that we each have to protect each other as we continue to get more vaccine for everyone who wants it in the County."
Public Health urges everyone to celebrate the upcoming holidays (Valentine's Day, and Presidents Day) safely with just your household and to connect virtually with friends and family that don't live with you. Being around people who don't live with you puts you and them at a greater risk for COVID-19 because people can be infected with this virus and not yet know it.
It is critically important that people not attend or host any private gatherings and not leave their home if they are experiencing symptoms of illness, have tested positive for COVID-19 or if they have been in close contact with or likely have been exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19.
As a reminder, outdoor dining at restaurants, wineries, and breweries is allowed with safety measures in place to decrease the increased risk of spread since customers are permitted to spend time unmasked at these businesses. Indoor dining is not permitted. All employees that can come in contact with customers must wear both a face covering and a face shield at all times. Persons who do not live in the same household are not allowed to share a table. All establishments must post signage to this effect and verbally inform customers that everyone sharing a table must be from the same household. Tables must be positioned at least 8 feet apart and televisions or other screens must be turned off.
Of the 197 new deaths reported today, 68 people that passed away were over the age of 80, 63 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, 42 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, and 9 people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49. Fourteen deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach and one death was reported by City of Pasadena.
Testing results are available for more than 5,679,000 individuals with 19% of people testing positive. Today's daily test positivity rate is 5.3%, down 42 percent since February 1st. There are 3,426 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized, and 30% of these people are in the ICU. Hospitalizations are down 37% since February 1st.
The Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.