Los Angeles County will align with the state and lift the requirement that attendees of indoor mega-events such as sporting events or concerts show proof of Covid vaccination or test negative, it said today. LA County health officials today.
According to the county’s public health department, the requirement will be lifted on April 1 in conjunction with the state, which is also removing the mandate.
The move follows the lifting of other Covid restrictions in the county – such as indoor mask-wearing requirements – in response to declining infection numbers and hospitalizations. But the approximately 3 million county residents who live in the city of Los Angeles are not so lucky.
According to public health ordinance sign by Mayor Eric Garcetti on March 4 of this year, “A covered location will require each guest to provide proof of vaccination when entering an indoor portion of a covered location. A covered location shall require proof of vaccination when entering the customer’s first in-person interaction with staff. A covered location is required to cross-check proof of vaccination for each customer who appears to be 18 years of age or older with photo identification. Subject to the exemptions below , a customer will not be permitted to enter an indoor portion of a covered location without proof of vaccination.”
Covered pitches, as defined by the cityinclude gyms and fitness centers, businesses that provide personal care services, businesses that serve food and beverages, and the following:
Entertainment and recreation venues, including but not limited to cinemas, music and concert halls, performance halls, adult entertainment venues, commercial event and party venues, sports arenas, convention centers, exhibition halls, museums, malls, shopping malls, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, card rooms, family entertainment centers, playgrounds games, billiard and billiard halls and other recreational game centers…
The city could lift its order as soon as the end of the week. The city council is expected to vote Wednesday on repealing the measure, which was signed into law in November.
Although they lifted restrictions today, county health officials continued to urge precautionary measures against the spread of the virus, noting that the BA.2 subvariant of COVID-19 is beginning slowly growing locally and will likely gain a stronger foothold in the county, mirroring the pattern seen overseas and in some East Coast cities.
In the week ending February 26, 6.4% of all Covid samples that were tested for the variants were found to be the result of BA.2, which is a more infectious offshoot of the Omicron variant that fueled the recent winter spike in infections. That was up from 4.5% the previous week.
Health officials noted that while the percentage is still low, it is finally starting to climb significantly after hovering around 1% for weeks. They said BA.2 is currently believed to be responsible for 23% of sequenced cases nationwide, while accounting for 39% of infections in parts of the northeast. The proportion of new cases of Omicron is much, much higher overseas, and the variant now accounts for 75% of all new cases worldwide.
“The increasing presence of the highly transmissible BA.2 subvariant in many parts of this country reminds us that we must remain vigilant and prepared for the possibility of new cases in the near future,” the director of public health said. Barbara Ferrer in a statement. “And while discouraging to face
this possibility, the best way to mitigate a further increase in cases due to increased hospitalizations and deaths is to increase vaccination and booster coverage. Given the compelling evidence that vaccines continue to protect against all variants and their wide availability, residents and workers are urged to use the next two weeks to get up to date on their vaccines.
“Waiting until we start seeing increases in cases is not optimal because once there are more people testing positive, there is already more community transmission,” she said.
Health officials have continued to urge people to take precautionary measures — including masks — in crowded situations, even though they are no longer mandatory.
The county on Monday reported 935 new Covid infections over the past two days, bringing the cumulative number for the entire pandemic to 2,825,423.
Another 29 deaths have also been confirmed by the county, bringing the total death toll to 31,491.
According to state figures, there were 404 Covid-positive patients in county hospitals on Monday, up from 422 on Sunday. Of these patients, 65 were being treated in intensive care, up from 71 a day earlier.
The overall hospitalization total has not been this low since July 2021.
The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus, which was largely unchanged at 0.7% last week, was 0.6% on Monday, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
According to the county, as of Thursday, 75% of eligible county residents ages 5 and older had been fully immunized. However, only 30% of children aged 5-11 have been fully immunized, the lowest rate of any age group.
City News Service contributed to this report.