LA County’s July 4th events return; Health officials urge caution when engaging in activities – Daily News
Private barbecues in the garden make way for noisy public gatherings.
Public celebrations are back on the calendar for today, with Los Angeles Counties forcing most people to stay home a year after the coronavirus pandemic. As the festivities began on Saturday, officials continued to raise concerns about a recent surge in cases and the spread of the permanent Delta variant.
Free from most of the restrictions of the pandemic era, crammed parks and pools. They gathered with neighbors and family and strangers. They handed over cash for safe fireworks – when officials asked the public not to shoot down illegal pyrotechnics and report people doing so.
The coronavirus hasn’t gone away, however, as the county’s health officials reported 644 new cases of COVID-19 and seven more deaths on Saturday. Hospital admissions for COVID-19 rose from 275 on Friday to 278, with the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units in the county dropping from 72 to 70, according to the state.
County officials did not urge residents not to party in public, but continued to call for “common sense” precautions.
“While the most important thing is to get vaccinated, if you go to a place and don’t know the vaccination status, it makes sense to put on a face covering to maximize protection for everyone.
If you are not fully vaccinated, you must wear your mask in all indoor public spaces, ”LA County’s director of public health Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Friday.
Two weeks ago, state and local officials lifted most of the pandemic-era restrictions as COVID-19 levels plummeted to the lowest levels seen in the 18-month outbreak. But the daily coronavirus count in LA County’s has risen over the past week, leading to more calls for residents to get vaccinated and be careful on long weekends.
The numbers, despite the spike, are still much lower than the levels of summer and winter waves, the deadliest and worst days of the pandemic.
While many people return to work, shopping malls, and public gatherings, many still wear face covering and take social distancing whenever possible.
- Many residents of the county attended a number of Saturday gatherings as the holiday weekend approached:
- The Hollywood Bowl returned to its full Christmas glory and was scheduling an aerial demonstration after the Kool & The Gang performance.
- In Long Beach, people filled the local parks and came to the Big Bang on the Bay – all snapping up tickets to the event at Boathouse on the Bay, which featured fireworks, a flyover of vintage cars, and a sailing regatta. The proceeds went to Children Today and other local charities.
- In the South Bay there was, among other things, the Village Runner Independence Day 5K run, which also included the Firecracker Dash for the Gold for children.
- In the San Gabriel Valley, Duarte was planning fireworks, and Walnut hosted a drive-thru celebration of a special kind: those who decorated their cars for the holiday took part in a competition. La Verne rolled out its “United We Stand” parade.
- In the San Fernando Valley, Moorpark was planning to unleash fireworks a day earlier than its annual show, accompanied by other local events.
Officials urge you to wear face covering in public places if you are not vaccinated, indoors or outdoors. And public health experts recommend that everyone wear masks indoors in public places if they don’t know their vaccination status.
Officials also reiterated their concerns about illegal fireworks.
“With another year of extreme drought, we are extremely concerned about the potential for large bush fires,” said Ralph Terrazas, Los Angeles chief fire officer, on Friday. “Last year, on July 4th, the LA City Fire Department responded to 429 more emergencies than our daily average,” Terrazas said. “These calls were caused by fireworks and involved a major fire in an apartment building in Northridge that displaced more than 50 residents.”
Los Angeles County’s Assistant Fire Chief Vince Pena said the county’s firefighters responded to 39 “directly related fireworks incidents” in the week before and the week after July 4 last year. .
Pena said firefighters also responded to 14 injuries on Independence Day 2020, including hand injuries that caused amputations and disfigurements.
In addition to the risk of fire and injury, officials are warning of the impact on air quality across the region. The South Coast Air Quality Management District warned Friday of potentially poor air quality that could have negative health effects, noting that July 4-5 air quality is typically among the worst of the year.
On Wednesday, Los Angeles hosted its first ever fireworks buyback program, initiated by Councilor Monica Rodriguez, which resulted in more than a quarter ton of pyrotechnics being removed from the streets.
The Department of Animal Services is encouraging pet owners to microchip their animals before the weekend of July 4th and ensure that all pets are wearing ID tags, as animals are often lost trying to escape the loud sounds of fireworks . Along with the risk of burns and injury, some pets can pick up fireworks. The department suggests keeping animals in closed rooms and in closed rooms as much as possible.
The city intelligence service contributed to this report.