LA County seeing a rise in workplace COVID-19 outbreaks

Between Aug. 29 and Oct. 6, Los Angeles County issued a total of 131 citations to businesses for violations of COVID-19 health orders.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The state released its Halloween guidelines Tuesday, strongly discouraging trick or treating. On Wednesday, L.A. County said its guidance is virtually the same.

But county health officials are worried about the recent state guidance on small gatherings that now allows people from three different households to come together for two hours or less.

"Outdoors only, with face coverings, no shared food," said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, public health director for Los Angeles County.

Ferrer said the state guidance should not be a common thing for people, but instead only for rare occasions like birthdays.

The concern is that the change comes as public health officers are seeing an uptick in the COVID-19 transmission rate, an indicator that a new spike may be on the way.

"It is more likely that the number of cases will go up than they will go down, and that means that severe cases, those that require hospital level care will also increase," county health services director Dr. Christina Ghaly said.

Meantime, more than 800 schools across L.A. County have reopened for high needs students. That's more than 17,000 kids and roughly 11,000 staff back in the classroom. And so far, Ferrer says the pandemic protocols seem to be working.

"To date, we have no schools reporting three or more positive cases," she said.

With more businesses reopening, Los Angeles County has seen a recent rise in workplace coronavirus outbreaks. Ferrer said businesses have generally been complying with public health protocols designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but compliance hasn't been universal.

She said that between Aug. 29 and Oct. 6, the county issued a total of 131 citations to businesses for violations of health orders. The largest percentage of citations went to gyms or fitness centers, which received 51 citations, while houses of worship received 36.

Ferrer again urged anyone who attended a massive pro-Armenian march in the Mid-City area on Sunday or a Lakers victory celebration downtown Sunday night to quarantine themselves for 14 days and get tested for the virus.

City News Service contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.