“Our hearts remain with those families experiencing the sorrow of losing those they love to Covid,” Barbara Ferrer, director of public health said in Saturday’s statement. “As the surge continues, we ask residents and businesses to continue following the public health safety measures that we know reduce spread and keep people safe.”
“Helping to improve access to these tests at a fair price, the order generally prohibits sellers from increasing prices on COVID-19 At-Home Test Kits by more than 10 percent,” the news release read. “The order also gives additional tools to the California Department of Justice and Attorney General’s Office, District Attorneys and other local law enforcement to take action against price gougers.”
The rise in infections is also hitting Los Angeles’ children hard.
At Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), the positivity rate for children tested for Covid-19 has increased from 17.5% in December to 45% to date in January, according to CHLA Medical Director Dr. Michael Smit.
CHLA currently has 41 patients in-house who have tested positive for Covid-19, and roughly one quarter of the children admitted to the facility with Covid-19 require admission to the pediatric ICU, with some requiring intubation, Smit told CNN Saturday.
The rise in cases comes just as Los Angeles students are preparing to return to in-person classes Tuesday.
Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the country, is requiring all students and employees to show a negative Covid-19 test result before returning to the classroom.
The baseline test requirement was implemented at the beginning of the school year in August, and the district announced a week ago that both the baseline test, along with required weekly testing for all employees and students would continue through January, given the current Omicron surge.
Shannon Haber, chief communications officer for LAUSD, told CNN Saturday that similar protocols in the fall, along with vaccination requirements, universal masking and “Ghostbusters-level” sanitation practices, have made it possible for every one of its more than 1,000 schools to stay open for in-person learning this academic year.
Haber said that 100% of LAUSD employees are fully vaccinated and students 12 and older are required to be fully vaccinated by the beginning of the next school year, with 90% so far meeting that requirement.
Disputes over in-person learning
Nationwide, 39 states are reporting a 50% or greater increase in cases during the past week compared to the previous week and as of Saturday, the seven-day average of new daily cases in the US was 701,199, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
For the week ending December 30, children accounted for 17.7% of new reported cases in the US, the American Academy of Pediatrics said, noting a record 325,00 new cases among children — a 64% increase from the week prior.
In response to rising pediatric infections, disputes over whether in-person learning is ideal during the Omicron surge and how students can safely attend school are playing out in various school districts this week.