LOS ANGELES, CA — A spate of health order violations at businesses over the Super Bowl and Presidents Day weekends have Los Angeles County health officials bracing for a surge in new coronavirus cases.
Such a surge would come just like schools across the county negotiate reopening and new, more contagious variants of the coronavirus threaten to cause new outbreaks. The concern dampens the newfound sense of relief as case numbers drop dramatically in Los Angeles.
Health officials noted that inspectors caught restaurants offering indoor dining in crowded conditions despite health regulations prohibiting both. As the county lifts restrictions, officials have been warning that the failure to take safety measures would plunge the region back into another economic and health crisis.
“As everyone knows who is sick with COVID-19 or worrying about a loved one in the hospital infected with the virus, we are not out of the woods yet,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “With almost 3,000 people testing positive still, community transmission remains high. It is so important residents and businesses continue to follow the guidance and directives in the Health Officer Order so that our recovery journey continues as we slow the spread of the virus.
“Each day more and more people are vaccinated, and if we diligently adhere to the public health safety measures while increasing vaccinations, we can get to the end of this pandemic and save many more lives,” she said.
The state and federal officials predicted this week that California should receive 1.28 million vaccine doses next week, an uptick but not nearly enough to offset ongoing shortages. On Thursday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city would cancel thousands of vaccine appointments scheduled for Friday due to a vaccine shortage triggered by weather delays across the country.
County officials said their COVID-19 vaccination centers will remain open in the coming days, having escaped any delays in vaccine shipments due to bad weather across the country.
While county sites will remain open, they will be administering primarily second doses only to people who already received their first shot and need to receive their second.