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Public Health urges ‘common sense’ workplace measures against virus


Los Angeles County health officials urged employers this week to use “common sense strategies” to combat COVID-19 in light of increasing spread of the virus.

The urging came as the county reported 5,920 new infections from the over last weekend, along with 13 new virus-related fatalities (at press time).

The county no longer reports case and death numbers on weekends. On Monday, the county reported 1,368 new infections, along with 2,728 from Saturday and 1,824 from Sunday. The new cases gave the county a cumulative total from throughout the pandemic of 2,877,960.

The 13 new fatalities reported by Tuesday morning had lifted the county’s overall death toll to 31,970.

Health officials have been reporting elevated daily case numbers in recent weeks, attributable largely to the BA.2 subvariant of the virus. An offshoot of that variant–known as BA.2.12.1–has also begun spreading locally, and health officials said it is believed to be 20-percent to 30-percent more infectious than BA.2.

In light of the growing spread of the virus, county health officials on Monday urged employers to take steps to protect employees and customers from infections, such as providing well-fitting masks, improving ventilation, screening employees who may be experiencing symptoms and adhering to isolation/quarantine guidelines and reporting clusters of cases.

“While relieved that the latest increases in cases are not yet accompanied by corresponding increases in hospitalizations, the higher rate of infection we are experiencing causes substantial disruption and leads to a vicious cycle of more transmission is worrisome,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.

“With high transmission comes the risk of breeding new variants of concern, the possibility of more people experiencing long COVID, and increased risk among those more vulnerable to severe illness should they become infected,” she added. “Curtailing outbreaks at worksites can help slow down transmission back in the communities.”

Virus-related hospitalizations have remained relatively low despite the growing number of cases -—something Ferrer has chalked up to vaccinations and previous infections that have increased immunity and prevented infections from leading to severe illness.