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COVID in LA County: Proof of full vaccination will be required in certain indoor places starting Nov. 1

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the state have flattened after a steady two-month decline that saw California boast the nation’s lowest infection rate. Now, L.A. County is seeing more cases as its vaccine mandate is set to go into effect next week.

On Thursday, the county was reporting 20 new COVID deaths along with 1,887 new cases.

The county’s public health director, Barbara Ferrer, urged residents to get vaccinated and continue wearing masks during a news conference on Thursday.

“Given that there is still considerable transmission, along with the risk that changing conditions favor easier spread of COVID as more activities move indoors, and more people travel, and gather to celebrate holidays, it remains important for us to maintain additional layers of protection,” she said.

Ferrer also took time to address confusion circulating the county’s vaccine mandate for public businesses, which is set to begin next week. She said the mandate will apply in both the county and the city of Los Angeles.

Earlier this month, the county already began imposing COVID vaccination requirements at indoor portions of bars, wineries, distilleries, nightclubs and lounges. Employees and customers of such businesses have been required to show proof of at least one dose of vaccine.

Two doses will be required beginning Thursday, Nov. 4.

READ MORE | LA County COVID vaccine mandate takes effect for large events, indoor areas of bars, nightclubs

Unvaccinated customers and employees can still be in outdoor portions of such establishments.

“I don’t think there’s necessarily a lot of confusion around what the county has required, and what the city would be requiring because they’re not at odds with each other,” said Ferrer. “The city is also requiring the same exact safety measures in bars, lounges and nightclubs, but there’s an alignment there.”

On Tuesday, U.S. health advisers endorsed kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for young children, and California says it’s preparing for a massive rollout.

Young kids would get just a third of the dose given to teens and adults. About 3.5 million children would be eligible, or 9% of California residents, state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said.

A new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that many parents hesitant.

About three in 10 parents of children ages five to 11 said they are eager for the vaccine as soon as one is authorized for children. A third of parents said they will first wait to see how the vaccine is working, and three in 10 parents said they will definitely not let their child get the vaccine.

Parents’ of children in that age range said their main concerns when it comes to vaccinating their children have to do with potential, unknown, long-term and serious side effects.

The state plans to mandate vaccinations for school children but that’s not expected to kick in until the 2022-23 school year.

On Wednesday afternoon, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced a partnership to implement pop-up vaccination sites at schools.

“As we speak, our California Department of Public Health, and Health and Human Services, is working with programs like AltaMed and ¡Andale! ¿Qué Esperas? to identify the right locations, the best locations, for vaccine clinics to be on school campuses.”

As winter is approaching, health officials are worried about a possible winter surge.

Gov. Gavin Newsom received his booster shot on Wednesday and encouraged others to do the same.

“We want our kids back in school without episodic closures,” he said. “California outperformed the nation in keeping our kids safely back in in-person instruction.”

California will wait until after this winter to review its school masking requirement and then will look at typical indicators like the number of people who are vaccinated and the rate of transmissions and hospitalizations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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