By Rachel Matta and Clarissa Serrano
Los Angeles County is scheduled to officially transition from California’s red tier to the orange tier next week, reaching the third step in the state’s coronavirus reopening process.
Expected to move into California’s orange tier on Monday, April 5, LA County may be able to begin further reopening protocols in correspondence with a revised LA County Health Order to be released on Friday.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) officials reported 26 additional deaths and 386 new coronavirus cases across LA County on Tuesday, continuing to fulfill state requirements to move onto the next tier.
“This week will be critical, as we are now two weeks out from when we moved into the red tier and reopened several sectors,” said Barbara Ferrer, Director of the LACDPH, in a press release on Tuesday. “However, we cannot let our guard down. Another surge here would be dangerous and stop our recovery progress. We would move swiftly to introduce measures to limit transmission and these measures would have us stepping backwards.”
The state’s reopening plan requires 1.0 – 3.9 new cases per population of 100,100 as well as 2.0% – 4.9% positive COVID-19 tests for an individual county to move into the third step in the coronavirus reopening plan, according to the state website.
Less than 5.3% of positive tests for the health equity quartile is also required to finalize LA County’s transition into the orange tier.
Two weeks out from moving into the red tier, Santa Clarita restaurants, gyms and houses of worship have been able to open indoors with limited capacity. Within the orange tier, these capacities are expected to increase.
“Having our churches shut down temporarily due to COVID-19 has forced us to adapt how our worship is expressed, whether we liked it or not,” said Estevan Cuevas, parishioner at Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Church. “While practicing Catholicism remotely has not been ideal, moving into the orange tier will bring my community a sense of normalcy that we have desperately needed.”
Effective Thursday, amusement parks in LA County have the opportunity to reopen at 25% capacity, while sports game and live performance spectator capacities may increase to 33% in the orange tier.
“As of today, sporting events are regulated by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, so the capacity at our sporting events is limited,” said Dr. Pete Getz, Principal at Valencia High School. “Even with our limitations, it has been undeniable what these events have done for our community. Students, parents and teachers alike are being able to safely come together and progress back into a state of normalcy.”
For more information on LA County’s transition into the red tier, click here.