LA County eases COVID vaccine, testing restrictions as emergency declarations end
Los Angeles County pandemic health orders are being phased out to align with state rules.
In a Friday press conference, county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told reporters that COVID-19 metrics there are stable and that the department was optimistic tools and resources will provide protection against the virus as the county shifts into a new pandemic phase.
Los Angeles County was in the low level of community spread for the eight consecutive week.
The local emergency declaration there is slated to end on March 31 and the state’s emergency declaration concluded on Feb. 28.
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“While it remains critical to continue to control the spread of COVID-19 in our homes, workplaces and communities, we no longer need to rely on emergency orders to ensure we have and can use life-saving tools and mitigation strategies,” Ferrer said.
She said the department was already working on plans to ensure the underinsured and uninsured can still get coronavirus vaccines when the countrywide emergency ends.
“The ending of emergency declarations does not mean that all protections end,” Ferrer assured.
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To align with the California Department of Public Health’s new guidelines, the county health department said that it would now be “strongly recommended but not required” that a person who is a close contact to a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 wears a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days. That change would begin on Monday.
Furthermore, starting on the same day, those who test positive must isolate for five days but may leave after that as long as they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines and they either have no symptoms or mild and improving symptoms. A negative test will no longer be required to leave isolation between 6-10 days, but is strongly recommended. Infected people may now discontinue wearing a mask around others between days 6-10 if they have two sequential negative tests taken at least one day apart.
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Lastly, as of April 3, the state will rescind vaccination orders for workers at correctional, detention and adult care facilities.