Public Health Topics

HEALTH UPDATE: 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

REVISED MAY 24, 2023

   Need Help: During this time of heightened health concern, BCHD is available to offer help and support. If you or someone you know in the Beach Cities needs assistance with health-related information or referrals, please call our Assistance, Information & Referral line at 310-374-3426 and press option 1, Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. or submit an online request here.
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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.

Latest COVID-19 Updates:

As U.S. Emergency Declarations End, Access to COVID-19 Protections Continues for Los Angeles County Residents

As the U.S. Public Health Emergency and the National Emergency Declaration for COVID-19 ended on May 11, 2023, following the announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) that COVID-19 is no longer considered a global public health emergency, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) remains committed to ensuring all residents have access to the tools they need to keep community transmission low.

While the end of the federal states of emergency signals a new phase in the pandemic, COVID-19 continues to be one of the leading causes of death in Los Angeles County, requiring ongoing efforts to reduce severe illness through readily available vaccinations, testing and treatment.

Fortunately, Los Angeles County residents will see few immediate changes in their access to preventative resources. The federal government will continue to make its supply of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, available to residents at no cost regardless of a person’s insurance coverage.

In California, new laws require insurance plans, including Medicare or Medi-Cal, to cover the cost of vaccines, testing and Paxlovid for COVID-19 treatment through Nov. 11, 2023. Exact coverage may vary depending on an individual's insurance plan.

Residents without insurance may receive free at-home test kits or PCR tests for COVID-19 at public health clinics and vaccination sites, at community health centers or purchase tests from a local retailer. People who are uninsured can visit to see if they qualify for Medi-Cal or Covered California coverage.


A New COVID-19 Strain has Arrived in Los Angeles County

The first cases of the newest Omicron strain have been confirmed in Los Angeles County and residents are being asked to watch out for possible new symptoms and take precautions. Reports of conjunctivitis, more commonly known as “pink eye,” are being attributed to XBB.1.16, also known as “Arcturus.” People infected with XBB.1.16 may also experience more traditional COVID symptoms, such as fever, cough and shortness of breath.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts XBB.1.16 accounts for 8% of COVID-19 cases in California and 10% nationally right now.

Older adults and individuals with underlying health conditions may want to take extra precautions like getting a second bivalent booster, frequent hand washing, avoiding touching their eyes and face, staying home when sick and testing. Those at higher risk of severe illness may also want to consider masking in crowded places.

Because XBB.1.16 is a descendant of the Omicron variant, current vaccines and therapeutics are highly likely to remain protective and able to ward off severe illness.

Public Health is offering bivalent vaccines and boosters to eligible residents at no cost, regardless of their insurance or immigration status, at hundreds of locations throughout Los Angeles County. Vaccination locations and appointments can be found at or (en español) or by calling 1-833-540-0473.


With New COVID-19 Strain Confirmed in Los Angeles County, Residents Advised to Be Aware of Symptoms, Take Precautions

Update as of April 27, 2023: With the first cases of the newest Omicron strain confirmed in Los Angeles County, residents are being asked to be aware of possible new COVID-19 symptoms, which include conjunctivitis, more commonly known as “pink eye,” and take the same sensible COVID precautions to help avoid infection from the new and likely more communicable XBB.1.16 strain, also known as “Arcturus.”

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed three reported cases of the new strain. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that XBB.1.16 currently accounts for 8% of COVID-19 cases in California and 10% nationally.

Observational data suggests that people infected with XBB.1.16 may be more likely to experience conjunctivitis as a symptom of their COVID-19 infection, along with more traditional COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough and shortness of breath. Conjunctivitis can be painful and itchy, highly contagious and, if left untreated, can cause damage to the cornea. Historically, conjunctivitis was reported in 1-3% of COVID-19 cases.

Given limited data, it is too early to know with certainty if XBB.1.16 is truly associated with higher rates of conjunctivitis, amid an already active allergy season in Southern California. However, residents should be aware that itchy, watery or red eyes may be a sign of a COVID-19 infection and these symptoms should not be simply dismissed as a result of pollen or seasonal allergies, especially if someone more vulnerable to severe illness could be exposed. At-home COVID-19 testing is an important tool to use to rule out possible COVID-19. And because untreated conjunctivitis can cause eye damage, those who suspect conjunctivitis should speak with their health care provider.  


With New Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance, Public Health Encourages Eligible Residents to Get Bivalent Vaccines, Boosters

Everyone Ages 6 Months and Older Should Have At Least One Bivalent Vaccine Dose

Update as of April 21, 2023: Two days after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 vaccine guidance, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) is asking residents, especially older people, to check and make sure they have the most up-to-date protection available, which includes at least one bivalent booster.

On Wednesday, April 19, 2023, the CDC gave adults 65 years and older the option to get a second bivalent booster at least four months after their first dose, resulting in new eligibility for more than 335,000 Los Angeles County residents. They also made a second bivalent booster available to people who are immunocompromised at least two months after their first bivalent booster.

In addition, the CDC replaced the original monovalent vaccines, formulated for the original COVID-19 strain, an action that took effect this week in Los Angeles County. Anyone not yet vaccinated can now get a single dose of the bivalent booster in place of the multi-dose series for the most up-to-date protection against COVID-19 infection.

For more information on COVID-19, visit:
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
California COVID-19 Response -
California Department of Public Health
Los Angeles County COVID-19 Response -
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
World Health Organization

> COVID-19 Updates

Learn about the LACDPH Health Officer orders and find updates for LA County, CA and the US. Learn More

> Health Guidance

Find tips including information on physical distancing & face masks. Learn More

> COVID-19 by the Numbers

View Los Angeles County and Beach Cities numbers at a glance. Learn More

> Testing

Learn the eligibility requirements and how to schedule an appointment for testing. Learn More

> Isolation and Quarantine

Learn more about the Isolation and Quarantine orders from the Los Angeles County Department. Learn More

> COVID-19 Vaccine

Get up-to-date information on COVID-19 vaccines and eligibility. Learn More

> COVID-19 Vaccines for South Bay Schools

Get up-to-date information on COVID-19 vaccines and eligibility for children and South Bay Schools. Learn More

> Reopening

View reopening plans for South Bay, Los Angeles, California and United States. Learn More

> COVID-19 Treatment Options

Learn about medicines that treat and prevent COVID-19. Learn More

> Safe in the South Bay Series

Safe in the South Bay Series brought health experts, cities, chambers, schools and community members together around this fast-moving pandemic. Watch Past Sessions

> Safe In The South Bay

The “Safe in the South Bay” program provided health guidance and a self-certification process for restaurants and businesses in El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Redondo Beach and Torrance. Learn More

> Safe in the South Bay Individual Pledge

Pledge to LiveWell by being kind to your body, mind and community. Take the Pledge

> Schools

Learn about health & safety during COVID-19 at Beach Cities Schools. Learn More

> How to Help

Learn tips and guidelines on how to help those in need during COVID-19. Learn More

> About COVID-19

Learn about the background on the novel coronavirus. Learn More

> Resources

Get Beach Cities Health District resources and other downloadable resources here.