Public health officials reported continued progress against the COVID-19 pandemic across the region Monday, with three new infections reported in Pasadena and zero deaths reported throughout Los Angeles County for a second day in a row.
In total, Pasadena has seen 11,239 infections, according to Pasadena Public Health Department data. The local death toll has remained at 346 since Friday, when two fatalities were added to city records.
Over the prior week, an average of 4.1 Pasadenans per day tested positive for the virus.
Although the numbers are likely influenced by weekend reporting lags, Los Angeles County announced zero COVID-19 deaths for the second day in a row today as the public health director expressed confidence the county will move up to the least-restrictive tier of the economic-reopening blueprint this week.
COVID-19 case and death numbers are traditionally low on Sundays and Mondays as a result of delays in reporting from the weekend, but the back-to-back days of zero deaths still offered a glimmer of hope about a waning of the pandemic’s deadly toll.
“We’re hopeful that deaths will continue to remain very low in the weeks ahead,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
She said that while reporting lags are likely responsible for the lack of any deaths being reported Sunday and Monday, the numbers of daily fatalities have been declining. She said the county is currently averaging four or five deaths per day, when those fatalities are traced back to the dates on which they actually occurred.
With no deaths reported Monday, the county’s COVID-19 death toll from throughout the pandemic remained at 23,914.
The county reported 255 new COVID cases on Monday, lifting the overall number to 1,233,985.
According to state figures, there were 386 people hospitalized due to COVID as of Monday, down from 390 on Sunday, with 96 people in intensive care, an increase from 87 on Sunday.
The continued low case numbers are expected to allow the county this week to advance to the least-restrictive yellow tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which guides economic and other restrictions during the pandemic.
Reaching the yellow tier requires a county to have an average daily rate of new COVID cases that is less than two per 100,000 residents. Last week, Los Angeles County’s rate fell to 1.9 per 100,000 residents. If the rate remains below two when new state-adjusted figures are released Tuesday, the county will officially advance to the yellow tier on Wednesday, although the
relaxed restrictions that come with the move will not take effect until Thursday, Ferrer said.
Entering the yellow tier will primarily allow higher capacity limits at most businesses. Fitness centers, cardrooms, wineries and breweries, for instance, would be permitted to increase indoor attendance to 50% of capacity, up from the current 25%; bars would be able to open indoors at 25%; outdoor venues such as Dodger Stadium could increase capacity to 67%, up from the
current 33%; and amusement parks could allow 35%, up from 25%.
Ferrer said she is confident the county will qualify for the yellow tier this week, but officials won’t know for sure until state figures are released around midday Tuesday.
The overall positive COVID trends in the county were still offset by a disturbing drop-off in people being vaccinated. Ferrer noted last week that there had been a decline in vaccination rates. She provided figures Monday showing that for the week ending April 23, 611,592 doses were administered in the county. Last week, however, only 467,134 doses were administered,
representing a 24% drop.
She said “vaccine hesitancy” cannot be blamed entirely for the drop, although it does play a role. There are also issues with people having easy access to vaccination sites or an ability to get there. Mobile-vaccination efforts have been ramping up in an effort to reach more residents, and most vaccination sites are offering shots without an advance appointment.
“There are some other issues we do need to pay attention to,’” she said. “People really need to have access to the kind of information they’re going to find helpful to be able to make a good decision. I’ve said all along the job of public health, we’re not sitting here ordering people to get vaccinated. We want people to feel very comfortable that the vaccines are safe and they’re super-effective.”
Officials at the state level announced 1,523 new infections and 15 deaths on Monday, bringing the statewide tallies to 3,643,992 total infections and 60,763 fatalities.
The state’s average positivity rate over the prior week was recorded at 1.1%, according to California Department of Public Health data.
As of Monday, L.A. County represented 34% of California’s COVID-19 infections and 39% of the state’s deaths.