HEALTH UPDATE: 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
REVISED JANUARY 20, 2023
On March 16, 2020, BCHD activated its Emergency Operations Plan and opened the District Operations Center (DOC) in response to COVID-19. View the DOC Dashboard for BCHD program and service numbers.
Los Angeles County Enters Low Community Level as COVID-19 Case, Hospitalization Rates Decline (January 20, 2023)
Los Angeles County has made good progress in reducing COVID-19 transmission and hospitalizations, returning to the CDC designated Low Community Level this week on January 20, 2023 for the first time since November 2022. The 7-day average case rate has dropped to 71 new cases per 100,000 people. The 7-day total for new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people is 9.5 and the 7-day average of the proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients is 5.8%.
In the Low Community Level, masking for many people at many indoor sites is an individual preference with these exceptions:
- Masking is still always required in healthcare and congregate care settings, per the state health officer order.
- Indoor masking is required for anyone exposed to COVID-19 for 10 days after their last exposure to a confirmed case.
- Everyone should mask where it is required by the site, including businesses, schools and workplaces.
Masking remains strongly recommended on public transit, and in all indoor spaces for people who are at elevated risk for severe illness or death from COVID-19, and those who may be exposed to large numbers of people in their job or work in very crowded places. A high quality, well-fitting, respirator mask, such as an N95, KN95 or KF94, provides the best protection.
However, with elevated risks of severe illness, hospitalization and death for people who are more vulnerable, and to remain at the lower community level, residents should continue to consider using appropriate protective measures including masking when indoors, seeking treatment when ill and getting the updated bivalent booster.
As New Year Begins, LA County Remains in Medium Community Level; Steps Suggested to Prevent Post-Holiday Surge (December 30, 2022)
To Help Reduce Post-Holiday Surge, Follow Three Simple Steps: Test, Mask, and Stay Home When Sick
As people prepare for New Year’s celebrations, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health urges everyone to practice three simple steps: testing before gathering, masking while indoors or in very crowded outdoor spaces, and staying home when sick. Although this week, Los Angeles County remains in Medium Community Level, based on its case rate and hospitalization numbers, winter holiday travel and celebrations could lead to a rise in COVID-19 cases, similar to what was experienced after Thanksgiving.
A few sensible precautions can help prevent another post-holiday surge.
Step 1: Los Angeles County residents are asked to take an at-home COVID-19 test before attending New Year’s celebrations. This is especially important for people who have recently traveled or attended other gatherings. Some people with COVID-19 may be pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic and unaware of their infection status. Without testing, they may unintentionally spread the disease to others, including to people at higher risk for severe illness should they become infected. COVID-19 health risks are highest for people over 50 and people who are immunocompromised or have underlying health issues.
Tests are readily available over the counter and insurance companies are required to reimburse the cost of eight tests per month per member. Each household may also receive four free tests shipped to their home by ordering at COVIDtests.gov For more information on testing, visit //ph.lacounty.gov/covidtests.
Step 2: Residents are asked to continue to wear a mask in indoor public spaces and in very crowded outdoor spaces. Masking is one of the strongest tools to help prevent transmission and a post-holiday COVID-19 surge. For the best protection, well-fitting, high-filtration masks, preferably N95s, KN95s or KF94s, should be worn securely over the nose and mouth. In order to avoid outbreaks at businesses and schools, Public Health officials ask that everyone wear a mask for at least the first 10 days when returning to work and school after their winter holiday break.
While some people may experience COVID-19 symptoms, such as a fever, coughing and sneezing, a few days after exposure, it can take up to 10 days for others to test positive or display symptoms of infection. During that time, they can shed virus and unintentionally expose others to the disease.
Step 3: Residents should stay home when sick. Even if they test negative for COVID-19, other respiratory illnesses are circulating at high levels this winter, including flu and respiratory syncytial virus, and both viruses can cause serious illness, hospitalizations, and death.
The new bivalent booster can protect against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. The bivalent booster is also expected to provide protection against the newer BQ strains, which are sublineages of BA.5. More than 6 million residents who are eligible for the booster have not yet received it and are encouraged to do so. These updated boosters, plus flu vaccines, are readily available at locations across the county.
If a person tests positive for COVID-19 and has symptoms, oral antiviral medications, such as Paxlovid, are available by prescription. A person may speak to their provider, access telehealth services by contacting Public Health at 1-833-540-0473 or find resources at //ph.lacounty.gov/covidmedicines. These medications should be started within five days of symptom onset and may be taken at home. Resources are available for anyone who tests positive or has COVID symptoms, even if their health care provider is closed for the holiday. Test to treat sites, where tests and prescriptions for medications, if appropriate, are open throughout Los Angeles County. To find a site or for more information, visit //ph.lacounty.gov/covidmedicines.
For more information on COVID-19, visit:
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
California COVID-19 Response - covid19.ca.gov
California Department of Public Health
Los Angeles County COVID-19 Response - covid19.lacounty.gov
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
World Health Organization