L.A. County officials urge caution for Super Bowl gatherings as coronavirus cases continue to drop

The field is prepped for Super Bowl LVI at Sofi Stadium.
The field is prepped for Super Bowl LVI at Sofi Stadium in Inglewood on Tuesday.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County public health authorities are urging people to celebrate the Super Bowl with caution as new coronavirus cases continue to decline following a surge fueled by the Omicron variant.

County officials on Saturday reported 4,760 new cases of the virus and 84 related deaths. There were 2,211 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals as of Friday, a decline of nearly 27% from a week before, when there were 3,012 patients.

The share of tests returning a positive result over the last week also declined to 3.4%, down from 5.4% a week before, officials said. The seven-day average of new cases has declined by 77% over the last two weeks, and deaths have dropped by about 3%, according to the Los Angeles Times coronavirus tracker.


The encouraging metrics come as the county prepares to host the Super Bowl in Inglewood on Sunday.

“As people prepare to watch the game either at SoFi Stadium, at a restaurant or bar, or at home with friends and family, please remember the sensible public health measures that protect us all,” Barbara Ferrer, the county public health director, said in a statement. “L.A. County believes in taking care of each other, and I know we can take care of one another and enjoy the game at the same time.”

Those who are planning to gather for or attend the game should get vaccinated or boosted beforehand and get a coronavirus test as close to the start as possible, as well as afterward, if they might have been exposed to the virus, the public health department said in a news release. Those who are ill or have tested positive are advised to skip the festivities.

Those hosting a gathering should keep it small and outdoors, or improve indoor air flow if that’s not possible, the county said.

And anyone attending a gathering should wear a high-quality mask, keep their hands clean and steer clear of others while eating, officials said.

Fifty-two percent of Californians said they plan to watch the Rams-Bengals showdown alone or with fewer people because of COVID-19 concerns, compared to 41% of people nationwide, a new survey has found.

Super Bowl attendees will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test result in order to enter the stadium and must wear masks at all times except when eating or drinking.

In a recent poll conducted by the L.A. Times and SurveyMonkey, almost two-thirds of those surveyed in the Greater Los Angeles area expressed some concern that the Super Bowl will lead to an outbreak of the coronavirus, the poll found, with 36% saying it’s “somewhat likely” and 27% saying it’s “highly likely.”

Still, 44% of L.A.-area residents expressed faith that the game-day protocols at the stadium — if followed — will have a “major impact” on controlling the spread of the virus.

Times staff writer Hayley Smith contributed to this report.