LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The county hit a promising milestone this week with a massive drop in positive COVID-19 cases in skilled nursing facilities, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Compared to last week, LA County Skilled Nursing Facilities saw a 41% drop in positive cases among residents and a 32% drop among staff. This is partly due to increased vaccination rates; 75% of residents and 69% of staff were fully vaccinated and strengthened on Friday, according to the Ministry of Public Health.
“Protecting nursing home residents remains a high priority during this post-surge period,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a news release. She added: “While we welcome the drop in transmission and hospitalizations, those most vulnerable because they are older, immunocompromised, living with serious health conditions or unvaccinated, still need the extra protections. offered by the range of tools and strategies available to reduce risk.”
There was also a 46% drop in positive cases among other county health workers this week.
Los Angeles County continues to see signs of recovery after its recent omicron-fueled surge. The county recorded 2,406 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday — at the height of the outbreak, that number was regularly above 40,000. Hospitalization rates are also down, but the county’s death rate remains high with 68 new deaths from COVID-19 recorded on Friday.
Starting Friday, fully vaccinated Angelenos could drop off their masks at businesses and other places.
Despite the bold move, the Center for Disease Control still considers Los Angeles County a “high” risk area, which means people are still being asked to wear masks indoors. Many nearby counties, such as Orange County, Riverside County and Ventura County, are considered “medium” risk, meaning indoor masking is only recommended for those at high risk.