Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

COVID-19 Update: “Low” Community Level Maintained; Therapeutics Available


According to Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer in her weekly address yesterday, LA County this week saw further drops in key COVID-19 tracking metrics, including daily new cases, hospitalizations, daily case rates per 100,000 people, and test positivity rates, which helped us maintain our current “low” community status as defined by the CDC.  As usual, however, Ferrer also noted that this does not mean we actually have low transmission rates, or that personal risks for individuals are necessarily low.

Ferrer explained that the CDC’s newest tier system is based more on current stress on the health care system than it is on case counts, so if a county has fewer than 200 new cases per 100,000 people, the key indicators to determine community tiers are totals of new COVID-19 hospitalizations, and the proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.  And currently, as show below, LA County meets those thresholds.



Ferrer said, however, that LA County will continue to monitor seven factors that could indicate further trouble is ahead.  And of the seven factors, she said, only one – the number of outbreaks in TK-12th grade classrooms – rose above “low” levels of concern this week and fell into the “moderate” tier.



Ferrer said, however, that this number still represents a very low number for LA County overall, and it is also still much lower than the outbreak numbers since early January.



Because the number of school-based outbreaks is in the “moderate” range, though, Ferrer said LA County is concerned and suggests a number of safety measures for schools, including a strong recommendation that school staff and students continue to wear masks indoors, even though the strict requirement that school districts require masks indoors has officially been lifted.



Meanwhile, another metric that LA County continues to track is “variants of concern,” and Ferrer reported that there are currently no new variants emerging in our area. The Omicron variant, and a couple of its sub-variants (BA.1.1 and BA.2) still account for 100% of LA County’s current COVID-19 cases.  The BA.2 variant does seem more transmissible than BA.1, Ferrer said, but so far it is still not spreading widely here.



Ferrer said that one important part of LA County’s overall preparedness plan to prevent and/or manage new COVID resurgences will be continuing to vaccinate as many people as possible, and to also continue to encourage those who are eligible to get booster shots.  Ferrer said the statistics, as show below, clearly demonstrate that unvaccinated people continue to be much more likely to contract COVID-19, and much more likely to be hospitalized with severe illness, than those who are fully vaccinated.  And the difference is even bigger for those who are both fully vaccinated and have received a booster shot.



Currently, Ferrer reported, 71% of LA County residents are fully vaccinated, but only 35 percent are both vaccinated and boosted…and only 29% of the county’s children ages 5-11 are fully vaccinated.  So vaccinating more children, and delivering more booster shots to all eligible age groups, will be two of the County’s major focuses moving forward.



Also, Ferrer said, persistent myths about booster shots are one reason many people have chosen not to get those shots, so the county will also be focusing on educating people on this topic, too.  Some of the common myths the county will try to dispel include:



Another current area of focus for LA County, Ferrer said, will be to communicate information about several therapeutic treatments now available for COVID-19.  These include two oral medications, Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, which COVID-19 patients can take on their own, and four other treatments that must be administered by a health care professional.  All of the treatments require a doctor’s prescription, and all should be taken as early as possible after infection.



Because some of the treatments (Paxlovid, Molnupiravir and Evusheld) are still in particularly short supply, however, Ferrer said they will be prioritized for use by patients at the highest risk of severe illness, including people who live in high poverty areas.

But if you contract COVID-19, Ferrer said, ask your physician if one of the therapeutics is available to you.  Also, since receiving treatment as soon as possible after becoming infected is important, 20 CVS stores with Minute Clinics (staffed by health care professionals) now offer testing and dispensing of the two oral therapeutics in the same visit.  You can also bring a positive test result to one of these “One Stop Test to Treat Sites” to receive the medications.  (The full list of these sites is available at under the heading “Test to Treat – Paxlovid and Molnupiravir.”)



Finally, Ferrer also highly recommended that even though many rules for masking and proof of vaccination have been or soon will be lifted, each person  should carefully weigh their own risk factors and take precautions that make sense for them.  Risk factors include lack of vaccinations (yourself for family members), other health complications, age, likelihood of exposure, and transmission rates in your specific community. And safety measures can include things like indoor masking in public places, avoiding non-essential gatherings (especially indoors), getting tested before and after gatherings, and getting vaccinated and/or boosted, if you haven’t already done so.



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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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  1. Thank you again for covering Dr. Ferrer’s presentations.
    It’s so nice to be able to get the key facts in a quick read.
    (I’m currently sitting at an outdoor cafe, wearing a mask,
    and I’ll probably keep masking for a while yet. has a neat
    graph of flu/pneumonia/covid deaths, and gives a map showing
    which regions of the country are over the epidemic threshold
    at the moment. Masks reduce risk of all three, so I’ll probably
    mask up whenever that map goes red.


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