Los Angeles Has 5 Current Covid-19 Outbreaks Involving Schools — All Associated With Youth Sports

The reopening of schools across Los Angeles County shows excellent compliance with Covid-19 protocols, the county's public health director said Monday. She reiterated that the campus was safe for children, but that youth sports were more challenging and that stricter rules could be introduced for participants.
The director, Barbara Ferrer, said the five current Covid-19 outbreaks that have involved schools - three in Santa Clarita and one each in Redondo Beach and Agoura Hills - "are all unrelated to participating in youth sports going to school. "
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"We know that masking and distancing can be challenging in some sports, and that socializing during these off-school campus activities can also be a factor in virus transmission between these groups," she said. "We are looking closely at the current guidelines for youth sports and may make additional recommendations later this week to help mitigate the increase in transmission among youth participants."
The current outbreaks involve students participating in soccer, basketball, baseball, and dance.
However, going to school itself is a safe step, she said. She said of the school premises visited by health inspectors, more than half were perfectly compliant with the Covid-19 protocols, 35% 90% or more and 10% 80-89%.
"Students are pretty safe in schools as long as safety protocols are followed," she said.
Overall, Ferrer maintained her "cautious optimism" about the county's fight against COVID-19, seeing a 98% decrease in average daily cases since the winter surge, along with a 94% decrease in daily hospital stays and a decrease in Deaths by 97%.
"With these persistently stable case rates and daily test positivity averaging around 1%, we can all hope that our progress in slowing down transmission is not an illusion," she said. "However, if we hope to maintain this remarkable progress, we need to be realistic about the risks associated with returning to the places and activities that made us such a large part of our lives before the pandemic." We must be careful to take sensible precautions in the coming weeks as we vaccinate more people. "
However, she noted that the number of cases has increased in other parts of the country, mainly on the east coast but scattered in other areas. She found that Michigan is currently experiencing 7,000 new cases per day and the daily case rate in Pennsylvania has nearly doubled in the past month. The increases are likely largely due to highly infectious COVID-19 variants, but Ferrer also noted that all the states that have seen increases have "significantly relaxed" their restrictions on businesses and other gatherings.
"While in the past high transmission rates on the east coast resulted in a spike in cases in LA County a few weeks later, I don't think this pattern is inevitable," Ferrer said. "Our circumstances are different now than they were in the past because we have vaccinated millions of residents and workers."
She added, "We're in a good place right now in Los Angeles and have the option of taking a different course than what we're seeing in other parts of the country. But we can only do that if we do it together. .. There has never been any evidence of the importance of taking care of each other, especially now that so many of us are back to work and school, we can do this, but we can only do this if we work together. "
On Monday, the county reported an additional 18 deaths, making a cumulative total of 23,641.
Another 337 cases have also been reported, bringing the total from throughout the pandemic to 1,229,311.
The number of cases and deaths tends to be lower on Mondays as weekend coverage is delayed.
According to state data, 465 people were hospitalized in Los Angeles County due to COVID-19, up from 470 on Sunday. The number of ICU patients fell below 100 and reached 96.
More than 6 million doses of vaccine have now been given in the county, including 2,239,672 second doses - meaning the number of people are fully vaccinated. To date, at least 230,000 people had received Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine at "county-controlled" vaccination sites before the use of that vaccine was discontinued, while federal officials are investigating half a dozen reports of people developing severe blood clots.
The City News Service contributed to this report.
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