Los Angeles County health officials urged parents and students to be vigilant as classes resume after spring break to protect against the spread of COVID-19, and urged anyone showing signs of illness to stay home and announced plans for school vaccination clinics across the region.
“As schools reopen after Spring Break and Spring Break, additional precautions are needed given the increased spread of the more contagious BA.2 subvariant in LA County,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of public health, in a statement Wednesday, April 20. “Identifying those infected early so they can isolate themselves from others requires continued emphasis on testing. This is especially important in schools and we urge parents to take advantage of school sponsored testing opportunities, including using the antigen testing kits sent home before spring break and allowing their children to participate to routine school-based testing.
“And while indoor masking is not required in most schools, safety in schools is greatly improved when students and staff wear high-quality, well-fitting masks indoors. This is especially important in schools where testing after the half term shows significant numbers of students and staff infected. .”
Her comments came the day that a local high school — Palisades Charter High — reinstated a mandate for wearing an inner mask due to a spike in infections after spring break. The school will maintain the requirement until next week, but warned that if the test positivity rate among students and staff gets too high, masks will be required both indoors and out.
County health officials had reported a rise in outbreaks in schools in recent weeks, although the numbers fell due to spring break.
With classes starting again, the county plans to operate 171 school vaccination clinics this week, with pediatric doses for children ages 5-11 and regular doses and boosters for ages 12 and older.
The province reported 15 new COVID-19-related deaths on Wednesday, taking the cumulative death toll to 31,899. An additional 1,146 cases were also reported, bringing the total for the entire pandemic to 2,855,687.
The average daily number of people who tested positive for the virus fell slightly to 2.5%, compared to 2.8% on Tuesday.
According to state figures, there were 230 COVID-positive patients in provincial hospitals on Wednesday, slightly more than 226 on Tuesday. Of those patients, 28 were treated in intensive care, a slight increase from 26 a day earlier.