Los Angeles with 10 million residents is the largest county by population in
the country of which more then 5% numbering more than 500,000 attend the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in the second largest city in the country – Los Angeles and its suburbs.
Throughout the pandemic, Los Angeles has been hard hit given the size of the population and its density, with close to 4 million cases and 36,000 deaths reported over the past 3 years.
L.A. County to end COVID-19 emergency March 31
“COVID is still with us,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said Tuesday, “but it is no longer an emergency. And it’s time for us in L.A. County to end our emergency orders.” said Supervisor Janice Hahn.
The motion to end the declaration, co-authored by Hahn and Supervisor Kathryn Barger, said that it had, without question, preserved lives: “Every county department has relied on the existence of these emergency orders and health officer orders in various ways to protect against COVID-19 and provide essential services to protect the public over the past several years. It is beyond dispute that these actions saved lives and protected the health of county residents.”
COVID-19 Cases in LA County
As the pandemic emergency comes to wrap, the norm is to test mostly at home with rapid tests which are not reported to public health departments or to not test at all for mild symptoms. This has resulted in artificially low case numbers with the true prevalence estimated to be 20x the reported cases.
With current reported cases at 1335, the actual daily case count could be 26,000 in the county. Given the possible 10-day infectious period, there could be up to 250,000 in LA County that are currently sick with COVID-19.
The good news though is that the case numbers have been largely stable at the current levels for more than a month, indicating that this could be the new normal until such time that a new variant drives a new surge.
As of Monday, 648 coronavirus-positive individuals were hospitalized countywide — about half as many as the most recent seasonal peak of 1,308, set on Dec. 8. It’s also far less than the prior winter surges of 4,814 on Jan. 19, 2022; and 8,098, set on Jan. 5, 2021. L.A. County is recording 90 COVID-19 deaths a week for the seven-day period that ended Tuesday. That’s lower than the winter peak of 164 deaths for the week that ended Jan. 13. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer has said a more stable death rate would be about 35 COVID-19 deaths a week. Such a number might still be difficult to accept — especially since fatalities are now largely preventable with vaccines and antiviral treatments — but would nonetheless represent stability and “indicate that our protections are really working extraordinarily well.” By comparison, the all-time peak of COVID-19 deaths was 1,690 for the week that ended Jan. 14, 2021. The following winter, the peak was 513 deaths for the week that ended Feb. 9, 2022. – Los Angeles Times
COVID-19 Cases in LAUSD
As the second largest school district in the country with more than half a million students who along with staff together link together a million households in the county, LAUSD is a sentinel of the county itself.
LAUSD has been an active and robust implementor of COVID-19 safety protocols with a well maintained dashboard at https://achieve.lausd.net/covidreportcard
All that effort at LAUSD together with the declining community prevalence is evident in the declining of cases reported from LAUSD schools since the winter break by almost 50%. We do need to factor that not all cases are tested and reported from schools either, but the data reported from schools do match the decline in the community cases, suggesting that decline is universal.
Keeping an eye on COVID-19 Cases for the future
As the pandemic emergency measures are shutdown, we will need an efficient means to track the start of any future surges immediately and robustly. That need is being addressed by wastewater surveillance which is now deployed at all 3 major sewershed processing plants in LA County.
Given these surveillance systems have been in operation for more than a year now, allows us to verify their functioning vis-a-vis reported test cases. As in the chart below, the wastewater surveillance data has clearly tracked the cases over the past 3 months and gives us the confidence in stating that COVID-19 is on the decline in spite of the sporadic testing and reporting.
As we march on forward from the COVID-19 public health emergency, individuals and businesses need to stay informed of health risks whether COVID-19, an endemic one such as Influenza or a novel one that could come up.
Hubbub Sentinel allows schools, colleges, churches and businesses to manage their health risks on their campus or facilities. With live updated data on health risks in the community and tools to allow the monitoring and communication of on site health risks,
Hubbub Sentinel empowers not only the specific sites employing it but also the local community.
My Hubbub tools allow individuals to check on health risk at a location and also get pers
onalized alerts by subscribing to My Bub. In addition, Hello is a tool for managing health risks while meeting with new acquaintances while Togather helps with planning events by providing recommendation for safe operation of events spaces.