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COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline

COVID-19 vaccinations at Dodger Stadium.
Hundreds of healthcare workers lined up for COVID-19 vaccinations in January at Dodger Stadium.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Los Angeles County has fallen below 1,000 for the first time in more than three months.

At 979, COVID-19 hospitalizations are at the lowest level since Nov. 23.

The number of deaths reported Saturday by the county Department of Public Health, 42, is also significantly lower than daily figures in early winter.

The statistics paint a brightening picture for the state’s most populous county, which has been a hot spot of coronavirus infections and deaths.

Meanwhile, 2 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in targeted communities statewide, allowing public health officials to loosen restrictions imposed after a winter surge in cases and fatalities.

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Los Angeles and Orange are among 13 counties about to exit the most restrictive tier, purple, of California’s four-tier reopening plan.

Starting Monday, L.A. County will permit the following:

  • Museums, zoos and aquariums can open indoor activities at 25% capacity.
  • Gyms, fitness centers and yoga and dance studios can operate indoors at 10% capacity.
  • Movie theaters can open at 25% capacity, with reserved seating that separates groups by at least six feet.
  • Retail and personal care services can serve customers up to 50% capacity.
  • Restaurants can open indoors at 25% capacity but must maintain eight feet of distance between tables.
  • Indoor shopping malls can increase capacity to 50%.
  • Schools can reopen for in-person instruction for grades 7-12.
  • Members of up to three households can gather indoors in private settings, but individuals must wear masks and maintain social distance. Those who are fully vaccinated can gather indoors in small numbers without masking or distancing.

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