LA County eyes move into orange tier even as concerns grow over COVID-19 variants, spring break travel

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As Los Angeles County eyes a move into the less-restrictive orange tier by early April, public health officials are concerned COVID-19 variants and an increase in travel could hinder progress.

L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer Tuesday urged residents who travel to quarantine when they return and get tested.

"If you do travel, when you come back here, not only do we ask you to self-quarantine, but if you've been in some place like Miami, you've been in a crowded situation, you've been hanging around with a bunch of people and none of you are wearing your mask, when you come back here please get tested," Ferrer said.

County leaders want to ensure nothing impedes in the region's likely progression to the orange tier of the state's reopening blueprint. Ferrer said the region could advance by early April once the county spends the required three weeks in the red tier.

A move into the orange tier means increased capacity for businesses, including retail, restaurants, museums and movie theaters.

Besides spring break, the increased circulation of variants and a rise in cases in many states has the county urging everyone to take a slow approach to our reopening.

"This past year indicates that often the East Coast experiences increases in cases before the West Coast, and that typically, L.A. County is a few weeks behind New York," Ferrer said.

She added not enough people across the county have been vaccinated to prevent more transmission.

In other parts of the county, Long Beach marked the one-year anniversary of the first coronavirus-related death in the city, which has now seen a total of 901 deaths from the virus.

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