Los Angeles County’s public health director said Thursday indoor bars and large event venues have been in generally good compliance with new COVID-19 vaccination requirements for patrons, acknowledging that the adjustment to enforcing the rules can take time.
But overall, health inspectors have not reported any major issues, Barbara Ferrer said.
“I think it will take another few days, particularly at these large venues, because as you know, Dodger Stadium is 53,000-plus at these games, and they’re full,” Ferrer said during an online briefing. “There are a lot of fans and they have a lot of gates that are open. So we’re working closely with them and I want to give them a lot of credit. I think they’re going their very best to be in full compliance.”
“And this gets easier as they’re able to work out any of the challenges that are happening at the gates,” she said.
Ferrer said inspectors also found high compliance at indoor bars, which are now required to verify proof of at least one vaccine dose for employees and patrons. Full vaccination will be required on Nov. 4.
“There are some places were there wasn’t compliance and a good understanding of how the compliance needed to work … but I do want to note that even in sites where we noted they weren’t in full compliance, we had no issues with the mandate,” Ferrer said. “Nobody was saying they weren’t going to be in compliance. I’m sure there might be some of those places, and we would anticipate that. But all of the sites that got visited over the weekend, folks were eager to figure out how they could go ahead and make sure they were creating this extra layer of protection for folks.”
She acknowledged that inspectors visited only a small fraction of the county’s thousands of indoor bars, but she was “pleased with where we are” with compliance from bars and event venues. Ferrer also noted that officials at outdoor venues and the county’s two theme parks — Six Flags Magic Mountain and Universal Studios Hollywood — have reported that “the vast majority” of patrons are arriving equipped with required vaccine verification documents.
“I want to thank both the establishments and the patrons for taking this extra step to help us try to avoid a disastrous winter,” she said.
The county reported another 19 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, lifting the overall virus death toll to 26,372. Another 1,142 cases were also reported, giving the county a cumulative pandemic total of 1,474,518. The rolling daily average rate of people testing positive for the virus remained low at 0.99%.
After three days of increases, the number of COVID-positive patients in county hospitals fell on Thursday. According to state figures, there were 658 COVID-positive patients as of Thursday, down from 698 on Wednesday. Of the hospitalized patients, 192 were being treated in intensive care units, down from 193 on Wednesday. The number of COVID patients in county hospitals has declined 37 times in the past 45 days.
Ferrer continued to lament the slow pace of people getting vaccinated, saying only about 41,000 first doses were administered across the county during the week that ended Sunday. She said the “the single thing that we need to do as a community to reduce our risk of another surge is we need to decrease our numbers of unvaccinated people.”
According to Ferrer, 79% of eligible county residents aged 12 and over have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 70% are fully vaccinated. Among the overall 10.3 million population, including those ineligible for shots, 68% have received at least one dose, and 60% are fully vaccinated.