Los Angeles County health officials urged parents and students to be vigilant when classes resume after spring break to protect against the spread of COVID-19, calling on anyone showing signs of illness to stay home. home and announced plans for vaccination clinics in schools throughout the region.
“As schools reopen after spring break and spring break, extra precautions are warranted given the increased circulation of the subvariant BA.2 most infectious in Los Angeles County,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.
“Identifying those who are infected early so they can be isolated 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 test kits sent home before spring break and allowing their children to participate in the routine tests at school.
Omicron BA.2, also known as “Stealthy Omicron”, has been the dominant variant of COVID-19 in the United States since March 2022.
“And while the wearing of masks indoors is not required in most schools, safety in schools is significantly improved if students and staff wear high-quality, well-fitting masks when they are indoors. This is particularly important in schools where testing after spring break indicates significant numbers of infected students and staff.”
USE OF MASKS
His comments came the day a local high school, Palisades Charter High, reinstated an indoor mask mandate due to a spike in infections after spring break. The school will keep the requirement until next week, but has warned that if the test positivity rate among students and staff gets too high, it will require masks both indoors and outdoors.
County health officials had reported increases in outbreaks at schools in recent weeks, though the numbers were down due to spring break.
With classes back in session, the county plans to operate 171 school-based vaccination clinics this week, offering pediatric doses for people ages 5 to 11 and regular doses and boosters for people ages 12 and older.
COVID-19 CASES IN THE COUNTY
The county reported 15 new COVID-19-related deaths on Wednesday, bringing the cumulative death toll to 31,899. Another 1,146 cases were also reported, bringing the total for the entire pandemic to 2,855,687.
The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus fell slightly, reaching 2.5%, compared with 2.8% on Tuesday.
LAUSD wants families to test their students before sending them back to school and to keep students who test positive at home in an effort to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in schools.
According to state figures, there were 230 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Wednesday, up slightly from 226 on Tuesday. Of these patients, 28 were being treated in intensive care, a slight increase from 26 the day before.