Grocery stores in Los Angeles County seeing rising number of COVID-19 outbreaks

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County public health officials are investigating ongoing coronavirus outbreaks at nearly 500 businesses, many of them grocery stores.

Using data from the Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles Times reported that there are 490 businesses under investigation for outbreaks, compared with 173 a month ago.

Six outbreaks have been reported to the county at Food 4 Less locations since the start of the pandemic, three of which were first logged this month. An outbreak is defined as three or more cases among staff within a two-week period.

There have also been new outbreaks reported in December at three Trader Joe's locations, two Whole Foods locations and three branches of Sprouts Farmers Market, the outlet reports.

An analysis by the L.A. Times also found a jump in outbreaks this month at other essential businesses that have stayed open during the pandemic, including banks, pharmacies and hardware stores.

LA County crosses 600K cases, 8,800 deaths in fastest acceleration phase of pandemic
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Los Angeles County is quickly becoming the country's epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic, with over 600,000 cases - including more than 100,000 new cases in the county in less than two weeks.

The outbreaks come as the region sees unprecedented coronavirus infection rates, marked by a breakthrough in the pandemic with the rollout of vaccines.

Once those groups have been vaccinated, priority will move to intermediate care and home health care workers, community health workers, public health field staff and workers at primary care, correctional facility and urgent care clinics. Lab technicians, dental workers and pharmacy staff will be up next.

After that, priority will move to people aged 75 and older, along with essential workers, including first responders, teachers, school staff, day care workers, manufacturing workers, correctional staff, postal workers, public transit, food and agriculture workers and grocery store workers.

Next up will be people aged 65 and older, along with people 16 and older who have significant underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe illness.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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