Nearly two weeks after the Labor Day holiday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said it has not seen a surge in coronavirus cases associated with the end of summer weekend.
In a statement released Saturday, the agency reported an average of 1,074 new daily cases for the week ending Sept. 25, compared with 1,176 for the week ending Sept. 5.
Health officials cautioned that it could still see an increase in cases associated with barbecues and other weekend gatherings that have been known to facilitate the spread of the virus.
However, they also said it is unlikely that the county will experience the same spike that occurred after Memorial Day and July Fourth.
In other good news, Barbara Ferrer, director of the Public Health department, said that a surge in cases is not inevitable in L.A. County as we move into fall.
“I am convinced by our recent data and the actions taken by many that we can do what is essential to slow the spread,” she said.
The county reported 18 new deaths Saturday and 1,236 new confirmed cases.
Residents of Orange County also have reason to be hopeful.
The county’s overall positivity rate has dropped from 3.9% one week ago to 3.1%, and the daily case count per 100,000 people dropped from 4.7 to 3.6, according to the health department.
If those numbers hold, the county will move from the red tier to the orange tier of the system set up by the state to slow the spread of the virus.
Moving into the orange tier means retail businesses and shopping malls could operate at full capacity, and that churches, restaurants, movie theaters and zoos can increase their capacity from 25% to 50%.
However, Orange County Supervisor Linda Bartlett expressed concern that students returning to the UC Irvine campus this week could lead to a spike in new cases.
“You’re going to get students from other counties, other states and other countries,” she said. “Even with a robust testing program, we saw firsthand what happened at San Diego State.”
Move-in week began Tuesday at UC Irvine and will continue through next Tuesday.
Orange County reported 165 new cases and 10 more deaths Saturday.