While most COVID-19 metrics in Los Angeles County have recently plateaued, outbreaks in TK-12 schools reached levels of “moderate concern” this week.

L.A. County Public Health Director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer said schools reported 10 COVID-19 outbreaks in the week ending March 3, nine of which occurred in elementary schools.

“The number of school classroom outbreaks in TK through grade 12 school classrooms, at 10 in the past seven days, has risen now to level of moderate concern,” Ferrer said in a public health update during the L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting. “While we don’t see significant increases in the number of students and staff that are testing positive through routine testing, we are… seeing a sharp uptick in school outbreaks.”

Ferrer added that an additional six cases were already reported to start the current week.

While mask mandates have been lifted for L.A. County schools, Ferrer said it is still strongly recommended that students and staff wear masks. Additional preventative measures outlined by Ferrer include, opening classroom windows and doors whenever applicable, checking the school’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and monitoring students and staff for possible COVID-19 symptoms.

“We want to make sure that asymptomatic students with school exposure, who remain in school during the quarantine period, should be wearing masks when they’re indoors and getting tested after the exposure,” Ferrer said.  “And of course, it’s really important that all cases and outbreaks among staff and students are reported to public health.”

The 7-day average of  daily COVID-19 cases increased by 19 percent last week, with an average of 783 cases per day in L.A. County. After averaging 27 COVID-19 deaths per day two weeks ago, the county averaged 14 last week, with hospitalizations also decreasing.

LA Weekly