LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Wednesday announced that it would update local orders to align with state guidance on private gatherings.
Starting Thursday, L.A. County will allow outdoor private gatherings with three or fewer households. Those in attendance must wear face coverings, maintain six feet of physical distance from those not in their household, any food must be in single-serve disposable containers and the gathering cannot last more than two hours.
“Private gatherings with people from different households increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission, with the risk increasing the longer the gathering,” the department said. “Public Health recommends if you do gather with two other households, that you do so with the same households each time, to create a quasi-bubble that can reduce the risk of spreading the virus.”
Households do not include group living situations such as dormitories, fraternities, sororities, residential care facilities or commercial group living arrangements such as boarding houses, hotels or motels.
Health officials urged those who have tested positive for COVID-19, have likely been exposed or who have any symptoms of illness to not attend any private gatherings.
Large public events and gatherings still remain prohibited in L.A. County, even if held outdoors.
Health officials also reported a recent increase in outbreak investigations at worksites.
From Sept. 6-19, there were 23 reported outbreaks in non-healthcare and non-residential workplaces, the lowest number since June. From Sept. 20-Oct. 4, the number of reported worksite outbreaks increased to 39. Since the end of August, the department said it has issued a total of 131 citations.
The department also reported that 62 schools had submitted waivers to reopen for grades TK-2 as of Oct. 10, though officials said it could take up to three weeks for the review process.
Throughout L.A. County, 837 schools have opened for in-person instruction for high-need students — 72% are public schools, 15% are charter schools and 13% are private schools — with more than 17,000 students and 10,000 staff participating in on-site learning.
On Wednesday, health officials reported 1,349 newly confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 22 new deaths, bringing countywide totals to 285,016 cases and 6,812 deaths.
Of the new deaths reported, five people were over the age of 80, seven were between the ages of 65 and 79, five were between the ages of 50 and 64 one was between the ages of 30 and 49 and one was between the ages of 18 and 29. Fourteen had underlying conditions.
There were 720 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 27% of whom were being treated in intensive care units. With testing results available for nearly 2,851,000 people, the county’s overall positivity rate was holding steady at 9%.