AMID the public’s frustration over lockdown measures, Los Angeles County officials are advising the public against Labor Day weekend celebrations outside of the home in order to avoid another increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the county has recorded 242,521 positive cases and 5,829 deaths as of Tuesday, Aug. 1, and despite the public’s insistence that schools and businesses reopen, the county is warning against attending in-person gatherings and parties with those outside of one’s household.
LA County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said on Monday’s countywide briefing that it will be guided by transmission rates and de-escalating the positivity rates. In accordance with California’s new tiered system, LA County sits in Tier 1, meaning that the virus is widespread.
In order to move to Tier Two, the seven-day average of new cases per day needs to decrease to seven cases per 100,00 residents. LA County is currently experiencing 13 positive cases per 100,000 residents.
Davis said that as the government figures out ways to safely reopen schools and businesses, “[w]e must look at the lessons learned from our experiences these seven months. In order for transmission rates to continue to fall, we need to continue to forego our traditional holiday traditions.”
“Our path forward for recovery depends on us being able to reduce community transmission significantly, so children and teachers can get back to their classrooms and more people can get back to their jobs with as much safety as possible,” Davis added on Monday.
As reported in the Asian Journal, the county experienced significant surges in positive cases and deaths associated with the COVID-19 virus after Memorial Day weekend and Fourth of July.
Since then, county officials have tightened their mandates on masks and social distancing, issuing fines to open businesses for not adhering to the appropriate safety protocols and prohibiting mass gatherings with people outside your home.
In a statement, LA County Public Health listed out examples of gatherings that continue to be banned (given they take place with people you don’t live with): baby showers, Labor Day barbeques, hosting study groups with fellow students, inviting extended family for religious holidays, and going to the beach.
“These types of gatherings are risky as they bring together people who do not live together and increase the chances of community transmission,” the county said.
Beach closures have not been announced for Labor Day weekend, but it is likely.
Previously, LA County beaches were closed over the Fourth of July weekend. LA County is expected to undergo another heatwave over the Labor Day weekend, but Davis warned the public to opt for festivities that adhere to infection-control protocols.
“Only gather with members of your own household this holiday weekend,” Davis said.
“Avoid crowds and be flexible and willing to change plans or move to a different location if you find yourself in a crowded area. And once again avoid confined spaces, especially places where you can’t stay more than three steps away from others. If you’re sick and have been exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19, please stay at home, isolate and quarantine as appropriate.”
He added, “Remember, these actions save lives.”