LA County COVID cases, hospitalizations continue downward trend

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Los Angeles County again trended downward Wednesday, and there's hope the region could move into the orange tier in the state's reopening criteria.

L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer reported 75 new deaths from the virus, including a person under the age of 18, the second such person of that age bracket to die in the county during the pandemic.

The person had an underlying health condition, the nature of which was not immediately known.

Ferrer said she'll keep preaching vigilance and continue to fret about another possible rise in cases.

She said health officials will be keeping a close watch on numbers and trends. On Monday, the county reported that the COVID transmission rate -- which is the average number of people a COVID patient infects with the virus -- rose slightly in the past week from 0.79 to 0.87.

Although the number is up, it remains lower than 1.0, meaning spread of the virus is still being slowed overall. If the number is higher than one, case numbers overall are expected to increase.

RELATED: Los Angeles, Orange counties within striking distance of moving to orange tier
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Los Angeles County is close to advancing into the orange tier in the state's reopening criteria as the daily COVID-19 case rate continues to fall.

Asked if she was worried about a slight uptick this week in the COVID transmission rate in the county, Ferrer responded flatly, "We're public health. We always worry about cases going back up."

"We're going to worry until we get to a place where we have the vast majority of people here in L.A. County vaccinated," Ferrer said.

And as schools gear up to reopen throughout the county, health officials are encouraging administrators to provide parents the option to continue distance learning.

"Since many families are still not comfortable sending their children back to school for on-site learning, schools that are open for in-person instruction need to also offer 100% distance learning as an option for those families and students that prefer this," Ferrer said.

To keep declining COVID numbers, major efforts are continuing to get more people vaccinated.

The city of Vernon's health department sent its mobile health clinic to job sites to vaccinate workers.

The mobile clinic vaccinated 250 essential food processing workers at the Vernon-based Rose & Shore Inc. The company is a full-line processor of food products serving supermarkets, schools, restaurants, airlines and other major food service clients.

Vernon is one of the many cities in L.A. County freed from the state's most stringent tier in the color-coded reopening plan. Other counties, including Orange, Riverside and Ventura, also moved into the red tier.

The counties have been given a green light to reopen restaurant dining rooms and resume limited indoor operations at movies theaters, gyms and other businesses.

With the virus also on the decline in Orange County, Disney announced Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim will reopen with limited capacity April 30.

City News Service contributed to this report.

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of Disneyland Resort and this station.

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