On Sunday, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered that bars be closed in seven counties, including Los Angeles County.
The County Health Officer Order was amended Sunday to require that all bars, breweries, brew pubs, pubs, wineries and tasting rooms in L.A. County close unless they are offering sit-down dine-in meals. This includes closing bar areas in restaurants.
In a press release Sunday, Public Health officials said “The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is guided by science and data and the key metrics monitored are showing concerning trends.”
There has been a sharp increase in new cases and hospitalizations in the county. The timing of these increases is in line with the reopening of key sectors, including bars, which are places where people remove their face masks to drink while they may be socializing with people not in their households.
“While it’s disappointing to take a step back on our economic recovery journey, it’s critical that we protect the health of our residents and protect the capacity in our healthcare system,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health. “I implore that our residents and businesses follow the Public Health directives that will keep us healthy, safe and on the pathway to recovery. Otherwise, we are quickly moving toward overwhelming our healthcare system and seeing even more devastating illness and death.”
The State-mandated closing came as the Department of Public Health reported significant increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations and the testing positivity rate.
As of Sunday, there were 1,717 people hospitalized, higher than the 1,350 to 1,450 daily hospitalizations seen in recent weeks. The cumulative positivity rate has increased from 8% to 9%, and the seven-day average of the daily positivity rate has increased from 5.8% two weeks ago to 8.7% Sunday.
Forty-one percent of cases are now among individuals between the ages of 18 and 40. While cases in this age range typically have low risk for serious illness or death, Public Health is concerned they may unknowingly infect parents, grandparents, and friends and family who have underlying health conditions and who are at greater risk for serious illness and death.