HEALTH UPDATE: 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
REVISED August 2, 2021
Latest COVID-19 Updates:
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.
On July 30, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health updated the Health Officer Order with the following changes effective as of 11:59 p.m. on July 31:
- Incorporates by reference, the July 26, 2021 State Public Health Officer Order that mandates specific public health requirements regarding worker vaccine status, respirators or masks and testing requirements for Acute Health Care and Long-Term Care settings, High-Risk Congregate Settings and Other Health Care Settings.
- Reiterates that because the County is currently experiencing high rates of COVID-19 community transmission, all persons, in indoor public and business settings, must wear a face mask regardless of vaccination status.
Update on the Delta Variant in Los Angeles County (as of July 29):
Specimens sequenced by several labs serving Southern California, including the Los Angeles County Public Health lab show the Delta variant is on the rise. Sequences collected between July 18-24 show that the Delta variant was isolated in 96% of the 675 specimens sequenced that week. This is consistent with the rise of Delta nationwide and CDC estimates. This now-predominant strain is more efficiently transmitted between people, likely due to its faster replication, higher viral load and greater affinity for lower respiratory tract cells compared with earlier COVID-19 strains.
The science on this variant shows that it is different from earlier variants of COVID-19: it replicates faster and more efficiently in respiratory tract cells, which means that infected people may now spread up to 1,000 times more virus particles with every cough, sneeze or shout than they did a year ago. They may also spread the virus efficiently 2 days earlier in their illness course than did people who were infected a year ago. A more infectious variant indicates infected people have more opportunities to transmit the virus and can do so more efficiently before they realize they were even exposed. And while vaccinated people are extremely unlikely to get severely ill from COVID-19, there is a small risk of getting infected and transmitting the virus. This is why the Department of Public Health is asking everyone to wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
On July 27, the CDC updated its masking guidance in response to new science related to the Delta variant. In areas with substantial and high transmission, CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks in public, indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and protect others. The agency is also recommending that everyone in grade schools wear masks indoors, including teachers, staff, students and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.
Los Angeles County already requires masking indoors in all public settings and K-12 schools; with increased vaccinations and indoor masking, the County should be able to return to lower rates of transmission.
Due to increased transmission, masks are required indoors at public settings and businesses regardless of vaccination status starting 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, July 17. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health expects to keep this order in place until we begin to see improvements in our community transmission of COVID-19.
- On public transit (examples: airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares)
- In transportation hubs (examples: airport, bus terminal, marina, train station, seaport or other port, subway station, or any other area that provides transportation),
- Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare and other youth settings. (Note: This may change as updated State K-12 school guidance is forthcoming, pending updates for K-12 operational guidance from the CDC.),
- Healthcare settings (including long term care facilities),
- State and local correctional facilities and detention centers,
- Homeless shelters, emergency shelters, and cooling centers, and
- All indoor public settings, venues, gatherings, and businesses (examples:offices, retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings, and state and local government offices serving the public, among others.)
Individuals, businesses, venue operators or hosts of public indoor settings must:
- Require all patrons to wear masks for all indoor settings, regardless of their vaccination status; and
- Post clearly visible and easy to read signage, with or without having an employee present, at all entry points for indoor and outdoor settings to communicate the masking requirements for patrons.
Special considerations are made for people with communication difficulties or certain disabilities. Clear masks or cloth masks with a clear plastic panel that fit well are an alternative type of mask for people who interact with: people who are deaf or hard of hearing, children or students learning to read, people learning a new language, and people with disabilities.
All businesses, venue operators or hosts must implement measures to clearly communicate to non-employees the masking requirements on their premises.
- No person can be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participation in an activity or entry into a business.
- The categories of persons who are exempt from mask requirements remain unchanged at this time and can be found at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/ncorona2019/masks/#notwear. In workplaces, certain employees may be exempt from wearing a mask when performing specific tasks which cannot feasibly be performed while wearing a mask. This exception is limited to the period of time in which such tasks are actually being performed. Workers who cannot feasibly wear a mask while performing their work must be tested for COVID-19 at least twice per week, unless the employer is provided proof against COVID-19 or proof of recovery from laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 within the past 90 days against COVID-19.
- In workplaces, most employers and businesses are subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) and some to the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standards, and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements. The ETS allow local health jurisdictions to require more protective mandates. This County Health Officer Order, which requires masking of all individuals at indoor public settings and businesses, regardless of vaccination status, is a such a mandate in Los Angeles County, and overrides the more permissive ETS regarding employee masking.
- All employers and businesses subject to Cal/OSHA must review and comply with the active Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). As approved and effective, the full text of the COVID-19 Prevention emergency standards will be listed under Title 8, Subchapter 7, sections 3205-3205.4 of the California Code of Regulations. All businesses or employers with independent contractors should also review the State Labor Office webpage entitled, "Independent Contractor Versus Employee."
People who are not vaccinated are at the highest risk of getting infected with COVID-19. Unvaccinated adults who are older or who have certain medical conditions are at highest risk of severe COVID-19 disease. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection:
- Get vaccinated. It is the best way to protect against COVID-19.
- Wear a mask that fits. Your mask is one of the most powerful tools you have to protect yourself and others.
- Avoid crowded places. Being in crowds, especially indoors, puts you at a higher risk.
- Wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer often - especially after being in public spaces where surfaces are touched by many people. Avoid eating and touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, talk to a doctor and get a test, even if you are fully vaccinated. You should stay home and away from others until you get the result of your COVID-19 test or until your provider tells you that you don’t have COVID-19.
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