LA County easing quarantine guidelines, regardless of group transmission climbing to ‘substantial’ – Each day Information


Los Angeles County residents who have been exposed to COVID-19 are no longer required to quarantine as long as they show no symptoms, mask and test regularly, per updated quarantine guidelines released by the Los Angeles County Public Health Department – although the county reported Thursday the region is now witnessing “substantial” community transmission.

The update to the county’s health ordinance goes into effect Friday, April 15 and will align the region with previous guidance from the California Department of Health and Human Services, which recommended last week that quarantine be abolished for members of the general public exposed to COVID-19 who are asymptomatic.

Both regulations maintain quarantine recommendations for close contacts in certain high-risk environments.

Pasadena, meanwhile, intends to merge with the county and state soon, according to city officials. The city will update its order this weekend.

“We have decided to broadly align our quarantine order for public health emergencies with state guidance, with one important exception,” Los Angeles County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said during a media briefing Thursday. “And that means we’re requiring, rather than just recommending, that close contacts who are exempt from quarantine mask and test themselves indoors.”

A close contact is now defined, according to Ferrer, as “someone who shares the same interior space — a home, a hospital waiting room, an airplane, a classroom — for a total of 15 minutes or more over any 24-hour period.”

As always, anyone who thinks they’ve been exposed must self-monitor for 10 days after exposure, Ferrer said. “At any point that symptoms develop, you no longer qualify for not being quarantined,” she added. “You have to stay home and test. And then if you test positive, follow the isolation requirements.”

Different rules apply to residents of healthcare facilities, shelters, correctional facilities and adult care facilities.

“For each of these residents who are in close contact with COVID-19 cases and are unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated and have not contracted COVID-19 in the past 90 days,” Ferrer said. “They must continue to comply with, at a minimum, existing quarantine orders, which require a quarantine period of at least five days.”

The requirement of a negative test if you want to exit quarantine after day five and the requirement to dress up for the full 10-day duration would also apply, according to Ferrer.

Employees in high-risk environments who have been exposed to COVID-19, have been incompletely vaccinated, or have not contracted COVID-19 in the past 90 days must exclude themselves from work for at least five days after their last exposure, Ferrer said. “If the employer allows it, a ban from work can end after the fifth day if he is asymptomatic and a diagnostic sample taken on the fifth day or later is negative.

Those who are unable to take the test or who choose not to take the test may end their work ban after Day 10.

“You must also wear this highly protective mask around others for a total of 10 days after last contact with the person infected with COVID 19,” Ferrer said, noting that administrators in any environment take more protective measures than necessary at their discretion may by the county quarantine order.

The department posted the updated quarantine order on Wednesday, April 12 at It comes into effect on Friday.

Meanwhile, a new state study suggests the number of people in Los Angeles County who have been infected with COVID-19 during the pandemic is far greater than the number confirmed by standard tests, largely due to people who have never developed symptoms and therefore have never been tested. or who didn’t have access to testing, the county’s director of public health said Thursday.

The research, based on the results of antibody tests performed on a control group and then extrapolated to the general population, found that between May and June last year, three times more adults were actually infected with COVID-19 than the county was based on confirmed test results reported. In children, the numbers were even more dramatic, suggesting that five times more children were actually infected than tests confirmed.

“Researchers estimated that at the time of the study, which took place in late spring 2021, 30% of LA County adults and 37% of children were infected,” Ferrer said of the CalScope study results.

During the same period, the county only reported infections in 10% of adults and just under 10% of children, she said.

Noting that the stark differences were due to flaws in the testing system, Ferrer said many people who might have been infected with the virus were never tested because they never got sick or developed any symptoms. Access to testing was also restricted at times, preventing people from confirming their infections.

Ferrer also said the current widespread availability of home testing is also affecting the official case count, as people testing at home don’t necessarily report their results to the county.

The study data “may serve as an indication of the large number of infections that are unreported in LA County,” Ferrer said. “This is important to understand because it gives us a sense of the true scale and impact of the pandemic.”

The comments came as the county is seeing a steady rise in infection rates, fueled by the infectious BA.2 subvariant of the virus. Another subvariant not yet discovered in Los Angeles County, known as XE, is also of concern, according to Ferrer.

Based on recent county genetic testing of COVID case samples, subvariant BA.2 is now believed to account for 67% of all local infections. That’s up from 47% a week ago and 32% the week before.

The numbers mean that BA.2 has now been confirmed as the dominant strain of the virus circulating in the county.

“We don’t really have enough data to draw any conclusions about XE’s transmissibility, severity or vaccine efficacy,” but the World Health Organization reports that the strain could be 10% more transmissible than the BA.2 variant, it said Ferrer. “Whether it will emerge as the dominant circulating strain is currently unknown.”

Ferrer noted that the county is seeing “kind of a steady, small increase, somewhere between 2% and 3% increase every day” in all coronavirus cases.

As of Thursday, the county was averaging more than 1,000 new cases per day for the past week, compared to 878 the previous week.

The county reported 1,214 new infections Thursday, bringing the confirmed total to 2,849,185 since the pandemic began. Another 12 deaths were also reported, bringing the total death toll to 31,839.

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus rose to 1.7% on Thursday, up from last week’s levels but still low overall.

According to government figures, there were 239 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Thursday, up from 256 on Wednesday. Of these patients, 32 were treated in the intensive care unit, up from 35 the day before.

“Eventually this will become more of a concern unless it levels off, and we hope it does,” she said. “We hope that people actually realize that we have a more contagious sub-variant floating around. Be more careful. Put this mask on in these higher risk environments. Go ahead and get tested when you gather. Use common sense in trying to avoid either re-infection or new infection.”

Fortunately, Ferrer later added during the briefing, vaccines have proven to be “a very strong protection against the coronavirus” throughout the pandemic.

And while booster doses don’t prevent all infections, they are highly effective in preventing illnesses that can lead to hospitalization or death. “They also provide a much safer route to that protection than getting infected,” Ferrer said.

With the holiday season here, she asked residents to consider their own personal risk and the risk of others you are close to.

“When you meet with others, you can enjoy the beautiful spring weather and keep your gatherings outside whenever possible,” Ferrer said, strongly recommending that people gather masked and vaccinated.

“If that’s not feasible, it’s best to keep gatherings small, and you can improve indoor airflow by opening French doors and strategically using fans,” she added. “I think if we can follow these simple steps, we’ll reduce the chances of COVID spreading when we meet up with loved ones or enjoy traveling to a new or favorite place this spring.”

The City News Service contributed to this report