LA County to remain on purple tier for now as COVID-19 hospitalizations drop

Coronavirus hospitalizations in L.A. County continue to drop, but purple tier restrictions will continue in the region for now.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County will not allow more businesses to reopen until officials further assess data after Labor Day to see if there is any spike in coronavirus cases.

Hospitalizations in the county continue to drop, but purple tier restrictions will continue, L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Monday.

"We've had significant spikes in cases after the holidays, and that has resulted in us needing to sort of take some steps backward," Ferrer said. "We want to avoid doing that again so we're going to wait a couple weeks, look at our data, review it with our board. ... And we will be getting back to everyone toward the end of the month.''

Purple tier restrictions means there is widespread COVID-19 transmission in the county and nearly all businesses have to keep indoor operations closed or severely limited.

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Officials want to see if there is any spike in new cases as was seen after Memorial Day when businesses reopened and widespread protests erupted over the death of George Floyd.

They say they are challenged to get good data because of the extreme weather conditions and the fires that created unhealthy air for everybody, and also less testing. A number of testing sites had to close last Friday and Saturday because of the fires and the smoky conditions.

L.A. County is hoping to move to a less restrictive red tier, also referred to as Tier 2. The requirement for that is no more than seven new cases for every 100,000 people every day -- for now that is impossible.

"You actually have to see two consecutive weeks of having our case rate be below seven new cases per 100,000 each day, so if you're asking me when I think we're going to get to Tier 2, in fact, it's going to depend a lot on what happened over Labor Day," Ferrer said.

Ferrer said the county was at 9.6 cases per 100,000 last week.

Ferrer also said there are new COVID-19 tests on the horizon and that could greatly improve testing. She said they will be cheaper and individuals would be able to take the tests frequently from home.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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