Coronavirus hospitalizations inch upward again in LA County

Los Angeles County’s coronavirus-related hospitalizations climbed a bit on Thursday, Nov. 11, up to 633 — an increase of 16 from Wednesday, according to the state dashboard.

Of those patients, 169 were being treated in intensive care, an increase of seven.

The county’s public health officials announced 1,441 new infections on Thursday, for a total of 1,507,736 to date and 18 new fatalities, bringing the county’s death toll to 26,814 since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to circulate among the homeless population, county health officials said, noting that five homeless people died from the virus over the past week while adding preparations are underway for anticipated winter rise in shelter populations.

About 100 new COVID cases among the homeless were confirmed in the past week, although the majority of them actually occurred previously but were only recently verified as involving homeless patients.

Since the start of the pandemic, 9,626 homeless people have tested positive for the virus in the county, and 255 have died, according to the county.

Public health officials said Wednesday they are working with homeless-shelter managers to ensure infection-control measures are in place, while encouraging staff and homeless residents at shelters to get vaccinated. The county noted that winter shelters across the region will be operating around the clock, likely leading to more crowding at such facilities.

About 80% of eligible county residents aged 12 and over have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 72% fully vaccinated. Among all 10.3 million residents in the county, including those not eligible for shots, 69% have received one dose, and 62% are fully vaccinated.

The L.A. City Council on Friday will vote on enforcement measures and modifications for its new law requiring Angelenos patronizing indoor restaurants, gyms, entertainment and recreational facilities, personal care establishments and some city buildings to show proof of full vaccination.

The law went into effect on Nov. 8, but enforcement is not set to begin until Nov. 29. The City Council is scheduled to consider changing the ordinance to require proof of vaccinations for only individuals who are 12 years old and over, instead of all eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, which includes people over the age of 5.

The vote will also authorize the Department of Building and Safety to issue administrative citations to businesses that violate the ordinance, which will include $1,000 fine for a second violation, $2,000 fine for a third violation and a $5,000 fine for a fourth and subsequent violations.

Proposed funding for enforcement includes $400,000 for outreach and inspections, $184,207 for salaries and marketing materials and education, and $500,000 for contractual services for the city’s VaxUp LA program to provide equitable outreach and awareness about the vaccine.

The motion, if passed by the City Council, would also remove “malls and shopping centers” from the list of indoor public spaces that require proof of vaccination.

The city’s SafePassLA ordinance is one of the strictest mandates of its kind in the nation, and includes all individuals eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

The ordinance also requires people to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend outdoor events with 5,000 or more people, which would be stricter than the Los Angeles County requirement, which applies to outdoor events with 10,000 or more people.

Los Angeles County’s rules, which are less expansive than the city’s, went into effect on Nov. 4, also requiring people patronizing or working in an indoor bar, winery, brewery, nightclub or lounge in the county to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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